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Monday, 14 April 2008
Speaking of Love
by Angela Young
Obviously, a title should draw you to a book and it was very much the title – in my current state of raw broken-heartedness – which drew me to ‘Speaking of Love’, as though perhaps, it could teach me something.
A quick glance at the back cover synopsis helped: What happens to relationships when you don’t speak of love? Another plus is the suggestion that if you like Maggie O’Farrell, then you’ll love Angela Young. But the thing which most encouraged me to put the book into my pile of birthday-voucher-delights was the five line biog at the back: This first novel was written by a graduate of the MA Creative Writing course at Middlesex University. At only half way through a BA I have a long way to go, but sisters under the skin and all that.
So I opened the book with a fairly mixed bag of anticipation, expectation and caution. Only to be enchanted from page one. This is a story told mostly in flashback, from three different people: Iris, the storyteller, Vivie, her daughter, and Matthew, Vivie's childhood friend. Through their eyes and their memories we see how Iris lost her storytelling mother and her silent father, how she fell in love with Kit, the poet, and how he wouldn’t be owned. It’s the tale of how a mother lost her daughter, and feared she would never find her again, and of a daughter who has been terrified into not wanting to be found. It’s a book of heartbreak and sorrow, so how it becomes a tale of hope is beyond me, but fortunately not beyond the pen of Ms Young. This is her first novel, and it’s a true hope that it won’t be her last.
reviewed by Alison Watson