Come to the Edge by Joanna Kavenna
|Come to the Edge by Joanna Kavenna|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Robin Leggett|
|Summary: A satirical look at what happens when a rural community rises up to take back the seldom used holiday homes that have forced locals out of homes. Funny, charming and warm.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 295||Date: July 2012|
|External links: Author's website|
If you are fortunate enough to own a rural second home hideaway in the UK, this beautifully written book will probably give you nightmares. For the rest of us, it's a great read. The target for Joanna Kavenna's satire is the unused property, owned by the wealthy, depriving the local population of anywhere to live in the places they have grown up.
The great strength of the book is the voice of the unnamed narrator. Having been dumped for a younger woman by her chinless husband, on a whim she responds to an advertisement from Cassandra White, who it turns out is a widow intent on self-sufficiency. She's also possibly quite bonkers. But it is the narrative voice that is the strength here. Given to self-depreciation and ironic under-statement, she retains charm as she gets drawn further and further into Cassandra's plans to re-settle the local population in the unused holiday homes that have taken over the scenic valley, whatever the consequences might be.
It's a bright and breezy read and is frequently very funny. Some of the subject matter - like the brutal introduction of the suburbanite into the realities of rural life - may be well trodden but there's a freshness about the writing that is totally endearing.
One or two aspects perhaps work less well, such as the narrator's love life, either past or present. What is far better is the depiction of poor elderly people who are re-settled into these sumptuous houses with absolutely no idea that this isn't all perfectly above board. Unlikely as this might be, it is certainly very funny as wild Cassandra becomes something of a cult leader, worshiped by those who she re-houses.
As with all good satire, there is a serious point going on underneath all the fun, but that never gets in the way of what is a fast-paced story. It's great fun.
Our grateful thanks to the kind people at Quercus for sending us this book.
If you enjoyed this, you would almost certainly enjoy The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life by William Nicholson. For an altogether more strange rural story, you might want to check out The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker, but be warned, it's quite strange.
You can read more book reviews or buy Come to the Edge by Joanna Kavenna at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Come to the Edge by Joanna Kavenna at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.