The Loss Adjustor by Aifric Campbell
|The Loss Adjustor by Aifric Campbell|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Loralei Haylock|
|Summary: An involving, absorbing read with excellent characters, lyrical writing and some keen observations on life. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: February 2010|
|Publisher: Serpent's Tail|
Caro's job is to 'adjust' people's losses. Working for a large insurance company, she deals day to day with people grieving for their lost or stolen belongings. Digital cameras with priceless honeymoon photos, laptops with work files and engagement rings. It's Caro's responsibility to assess the case and decide on whether to financially reimburse or not. But Caro knows well that sometimes it's not about the money. Her job requires emotional sensitivity and the sort of manner that invites people to open up to you. Her years of experience have made her an expert in dealing with everyone else's loss. But not her own.
For Caro is still haunted by the childhood trauma that cost her her two best friends – tempestuous, difficult Estelle, who died too young, and Cormac, now a famous rockstar, who Caro hasn't spoken to in twenty years. Through an unlikely friendship with war veteran Tom, who has emotional troubles of his own, and Cormac's sudden reappearance in her life, Caro is forced to face the past, and confront the issues that have kept her so completely alone throughout her adult life.
This book is like a jigsaw puzzle with no edge pieces – the sort that you build up in little clusters before finally the entire picture comes together. It's absorbing, lyrical, packed with telling observations and so very real.
Caro is an intriguing lead and despite her emotional disconnectedness, you empathise with her, relate to her, and identify elements of yourself in her. It is testament to Campbell's skill at crafting utterly realistic characters and situations that Caro is so likeable, and that the story works at all. It's the sort of story beginning that could easily depress you, but the wonderfully sharp prose, and strong characters are more than enough to keep you reading. It becomes almost like a journey towards redemption that you take together.
It's written in the present tense which, though it can feel odd at first, brings immediacy to the story, as well as providing a nice, subtle distinction between past and present. It's involving, and a real page turner. After a chapter or so you won't want to put it down. A completely absorbing read. Highly recommended.
If the 'jigsaw' style appeals to you, try Thin Blue Smoke by Doug Worgul – a story of Barbecue and dysfunctional characters. For more absorbing characters written in the present tense, try The Weight of Water by Penelope Evans.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Loss Adjustor by Aifric Campbell at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Loss Adjustor by Aifric Campbell at Amazon.com.
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