Saturday 7 April 2012

An Unexpected Guest by Anne Korkeakivi - Book Review

Title: An Unexpected Guest
Author: Anne Korkeakivi
Publisher: Little Brown and Co.
Publication Date:17th April 2012
Pages: 282
Format: E-Book - PDF
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: ARC from NetGalley

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On a spring day after the London Underground bombing, Clare Moorhouse, the American wife of a high-ranking diplomat in Paris, is arranging an official dinner crucial to her husband's career. As she shops for fresh stalks of asparagus and works out the menu and seating arrangements, her day is complicated by the unexpected arrival of her son and a random encounter with a Turkish man, who may be a suspected terrorist. More unnerving is a recurring face in the crowd, one that belonged to another, darker era of her life. One she never expected to see again. But it can't be him--he's been dead for 20 years....(Goodreads Synopsis)

This is a tale that is deceptively simple: a diplomat's wife preparing for an important dinner party. And yet into this simple story, the author weaves a complex tale of lies, regret and the hold the past can have over our lives. With hints of Virginia Woolfe, this book explores the minute detail of one woman's life, showing how the mundane can become something of vital importance. 

I found the prose very readable and engaging and I was immediately drawn to Clare's character, wanting to know what would happen as her past collided with the present and future. The supporting cast of characters were also well drawn: from the busy husband to the grumpy teenage son to the larger-than-life cook.

This is not one of those books I'd want to return to again and again, but it is a book well-worth a read and one which will appeal to fans of literary fiction in the style of Mrs Dalloway.

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