The Friday Review; Moving, by Jenny Eclair

Blurb:

Artist and illustrator Edwina Spinner used to have a busy family life. Now she lives alone, in a house that has grown too big for her. She has decided to sell it. As Edwina takes the estate agent from room to room, she finds herself transported back to her life as a young mother. Back to her twins, Rowena and Charlie, and a stepson she cannot bring herself to mention by name.

As the house reveals its secrets, Edwina is forced to confront her family’s past, and a devastating betrayal that changed everything. But Edwina doesn’t know the whole story. And to discover the truth, she will have to face the one person she vowed never to see again.

‘Moving’ is an interesting novel, and one that I’m still undecided as to whether I enjoyed or not. The story is narrated from four different viewpoints: Edwina, Fern, Lucas and Sophie.

Edwina’s story leaves many questions which are eventually explored in the rest of the text. Edwina is looking to sell her family home, a four-bedroom in London. The house has become too much for her to handle and the place has become dilapidated after years of neglect. As Edwina provides a tour for an estate agent, each room, some of which she hasn’t entered in years, brings back both happy and sad memories. A duvet cover reminds her of her daughter, the sink of bathing her babies and the kitchen of Alicia, the housemaid who quickly became Edwina’s best friend. Each room of the house forces memories back into Edwina’s mind that she previously had tried to forget. Eclair uses objects as a way of bringing back memories, not just in Edwina’s chapter but throughout the novel. This technique is clever and, though the novel is therefore not particularly in chronological order, each memory slots into one another to form a much bigger picture about the struggles of family life. We learn about her twins, Charlie and Rowena, about her new husband, Dickie, and her step-son Lucas, about her struggles within her family relationships and eventually how all these problems are overcome.

Fern is in a dramatic relationship with Charlie, Edwina’s son. Her narrative fills the reader in on parts that Edwina cannot. Fern’s relationship with Charlie is mostly about sex, but they open up to one another and therefore we learn things about Charlie that his mother could never know. All families have their secrets but seeing them laid out, as Eclair so beautifully does, demonstrates the links and the ties everyone has to one another.

Overall rating: 3/5

 

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