Tuesday 31 July 2018

Book Review: The Book of Ordinary People by Claire Varley

Title: The Book of Ordinary People
Author: Claire Varley
Pan Macmillan Australia

Publication Date: 31 July 2018
Literary Fiction
Review Copy from Publisher


Three things different. Three things the same.

Meet Evangelia, a grieving souvlaki shop owner; Rik, a news hack haunted by his past; Nell, a lawyer who worries over her soul; and Ben, a young father desperate to measure up - four people who have everything and nothing to do with one another.

But each of their lives is about to be changed forever by Aida, a woman who never wanted their help, nor their sympathy. A woman with her own tale to tell... 

The Book of Ordinary People was a pleasure to read. I loved the way Varley wove together these separate stories, creating a connection of which the characters were mostly unaware but which we, as readers, could appreciate. The book speaks to a number of contemporary topics, looking at each with a frank yet sensitive eye, and it is a timely work, considering all the things going on in the world at present. For me, this was a four-star read. I enjoyed it both for its interesting plot and characters and its clean, easy prose, but I would have liked to have established more of a connection with the characters. As the story progressed, I was interested in them, and what would happen to them, but that interest remained more academic than emotional. Nonetheless, this is a work of contemporary fiction that is certain to have wide appeal, and if you like literary fiction in which the characters are the main focus, I recommend checking out The Book of Ordinary People.

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