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Saturday, February 9, 2013

TALKING TO THE DEAD by HELEN DUNMORE



Basically a drama within a small family of two sisters - long dead mother, father and baby brother it is also a bit of a mystery murder with the "supposed" cot death of Baby Colin when Nina was just four and Isabel seven.

The story is set in present times with Isabel the mother of a new born, Nina the sister who has come to help out after a difficult confinement and we have Richard the husband who is bewildered by the situation that faces him. On the one hand a wife who seems unapproachable, one with several psychiatric problems who has also to be handled carefully as her state of health is not quite right. On the other hand we have his attraction to his nubile sister in law, who is also more than happy to accommodate his sexual needs, as and when the need arises and wherever possible!

There is also Susan the nanny and her mother Margaret and there is Edward a homosexual friend of Isabel who monopolises her time night and day with one on one chats excluding all others.  The different relationships in one house are not conducive to any kind of relaxed friendship. Everyone seems tense and on guard as it were for something that is going to happen. The bubble has to burst. No one can continue in this very uneven manner however much of good food, good wine and nice dinners are organised in the house.

The story about family ties - the ties that bind can also be those that divide. The machinations within a family - how one person can use their position of strength and in this case elder sister to subvert and make submissive the mind of a sibling is frightening. 

An excellent novel and an author I am going to look out for in the future as well.

1 comment:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Ohhh I do like the sound of this one. I have never read anything by Dunmore, but this may be a good place to start.