This book compelled me and confused me. At it’s heart it’s about a woman who’s in her eighties and
is reflecting on her life with a multitude of regrets and sorrows and guilt.
Her name is Iris.
The book starts with the phrase ‘10 days after the end of the war my sister drove off a bridge’ I finished this book a fortnight ago now, I know bad me, and that phrase is still playing around in my head. The book is about 650 pages and I’d guess it had nearly 100 chapters, I didn’t count them and they’re not numbered, it’s a guess. But it wasn’t until about 3 chapters before the end of the book that the reason, or reasons, she killed herself come to light.
Some of the first chapters are newspaper clippings. They describe the suicides, cleverly covered, of Iris’ Sister, Husband, Daughter and Father.
The book is written in parts which alternate between the old Iris reflecting on her life, and a young woman living it, living an affair to be specific. It was the young sections which sucked me in, drew me back. I read them for their story and the second story they contained. They contained hope, while the old chapters contained despair. When I started reading I thought they were about one woman, by the end of the book I knew them to be about another. It doesn’t really matter both stories were told in a roundabout way.
This is one of the best books I’ve read this year, and yet it haunts me...