This week I received a copy of The Widow’s Tale by Mick Jackson, via LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers’ Programme.
I’ve never read anything by Mick Jackson before, but I’m hoping this will be good. It’s described on the back cover as
The long awaited third novel from the Booker Prize shortlisted author of Five Boys and The Underground Man.
A newly-widowed woman has done a runner. She just jumped in her car, abandoned her (very nice) house in north London and kept on driving until she reached the Norfolk coast. Now she’s rented a tiny cottage and holed herself away there, if only to escape the ceaseless sympathy and insincere concern.She’s not quite sure, but thinks she may be having a bit of a breakdown. Or perhaps this sense of dislocation is perfectly normal in the circumstances. All she knows is that she can’t sleep and may be drinking a little more than she ought to.
But as her story unfolds we discover that her marriage was far from perfect. That it was, in fact, full of frustration and disappointment, as well as one or two significant secrets, and that by running away to this particular village she might actually be making her own personal pilgrimage.
By turns elegiac and highly comical, The Widow’s Tale conjures up this most defiantly unapologetic of narrators as she begins to pick over the wreckage of her life and decide what has real value and what she should leave behind.
This meme is hosted by MizB at Should be reading.