This was an absolute gem of a novel. I’ve bought all of Rachel Joyce’s novels, and have only read the collection of short stories ‘The Snow Garden’ and the brilliant novel ‘The Unexpected Pilgrimmage Of Harold Fry’. Her other two novels are sat in my to be read pile, but when I saw this new novel in my local bookshop I decided to read this next.
What I really love about Joyce’s writing is her characterisation – her characters are so beautifully thought out and written that you can’t help falling in love with them. Joyce has a real understanding of how people work, and this really comes across in her writing. Another thing that Joyce is good at is throwing some killer plot twists in there when you least expect it, which go hand in hand with her understanding of her characters as people.
The plot was so cute and heartbreaking at the same time; another thing I should have expected from Joyce’s writing after reading ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimmage of Harold Fry’. Joyce pulled you in with her characters and you really cared about what happened to them. At several points Joyce had me terrified her characters weren’t going to get the happy ending they deserved!
The pacing was perfect, and it was clear Joyce knew the story she wanted to tell inside out. There was an overall feeling of nostalgia to the novel; looking back at the history of vinyl, for one thing. The snippets from Frank’s past with his relationship to his mother Peg was heartbreaking, but also clear to our understanding of his relationship with others now.
This was a really beautiful novel – a definite must read if you love music. What I really loved was Joyce made reference to not only contemporary music of the time this novel was set, but other more classical examples as well. Overall this was a really good novel – Joyce is a shining example of how to do characterisation, and telling a more character based narrative. I would give it a 4/5 because the writing is phenomenal, and I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.