Two streams running independently, alternating chapter by chapter. One stream is a large city, the other a lone woman in the Antarctic.
What do we remember and more importantly who do we remember? How many people have you met in your life? Is it fifty, one hundred, several thousand? Write them down and soon you realise it’s like that old puzzle where someone asks the king for one grain of rice to place on the first square on the chessboard and then double the amount for each subsequent square. By the time you get to the other side of the chessboard how many grains of rice will you have?
When does someone really die? Is it when they cease to breathe or is it when there is no one left who remembers them?
The problem with trying to tell someone else about a book is that if you say too much you may spoil their reading of it. Let me just say that I really couldn’t put this book down. So much so that I walked out of the house this morning without my handbag. I was so engrossed in the book on the train that I didn’t notice the ticket inspector asking for tickets and it was only then that I realised I had no ticket and no way of paying for one. To quote DGR, “Caveat Lector”!! Reading can damage your reputation.
To those of you who may be surprised at how quickly I have read this book (for me) let me explain that there are two reasons for this. The first is that I didn’t want to put it down. The second reason is that I was enjoying the book so much, even after the first few pages, that I read most of the first chapter out loud, in bed, to MDB (My Dearly Beloved) and since then he has been trying to booknap it from me.