All Yours by Claudia Pineiro

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All Yours by Claudia Pineiro

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Susmita Chatto
Reviewed by Susmita Chatto
Summary: The mundane order of the life of a surburban wife is turned upside down by her determination to protect her husband from his own actions.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 186 Date: August 2011
Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press
ISBN: 978-1904738800

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Inés leads an ordinary life with her husband and daughter. So ordinary in fact, the term 'desperate housewife' could have been invented exclusively for her. She is under no illusions about marriage as an institution - but is convinced she knows all about her husband, and all about men and how to handle them – with a little help from her mother, whose observations on losing a man are always at the front of Inés' mind. When Inés follows her husband on an errand one night, she witnesses him having a violent argument with another woman; the woman then suffers a freak accident and dies. Inés takes charge of the ensuing trouble in her usual capable way, with the full confidence of someone who is always in control. But in trying to protect her husband, she comes up against much more than she bargained for.

Switching narrative styles between first person, pure dialogue and official paperwork gives this book an excellent pace and keeps the reader enthralled. The parts written from the point of view of Inés are the most compelling; our window into her psyche is nothing less than fascinating. Her descriptions of the enormous complexity and tedium that her life provides, her study of how hard she works to keep her man and the occasional glimpses of her childhood with an absent father, combine to make her character clear and easily understandable. It's hard to have sympathy for her; at some points I found her immensely unpleasant, but the depiction of a woman living that sort of life is flawless.

Such is her plausibility, the reader is convinced by much of what she says, and her view of the other characters. However, as the drama unfolds, it becomes clear that the picture Inés paints for us is only part of the story. It takes a little while for the other characters to move centre stage, but when they do, having seen them only through the eyes of Inés, it is as much a shock for the reader to find out what is really going on, as it is for her.

Although the book is economically written and suits the style of narrative very well, there are time where the 'stream of consciousness' style leads to pages with no paragraph breaks; this is the only time that it feels like hard work to read. Other than that, this is a well-paced thriller with well drawn characters and a satisfying ending.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

FURTHER READING SUGGESTION: The Hummingbird and the Bear by Nicholas Hogg

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