In 1953, Martin’s life is changed forever when a storm causes Canvey Island to flood. His mother is killed in the flood, while his father, aunt, and uncle have spent the evening dancing on the mainland. Over the course of the novel, the reader discovers how the death of his mother has affected Martin for years to come- well into his adulthood.
As I read the novel, I kept finding myself wondering how Martin’s life would have been different if his mother hadn’t died when she did. Would he have made different choices if she had been around to influence him? As a boy, Martin was a sympathetic character, but as he got older, I wasn’t nearly as sympathetic.
One thing I really liked was the way this book made me think about how one single event can change a person’s entire life. Had his mother lived, would he have chosen the career path he did? Maybe, but probably not; it wouldn’t have been as significant for him. And a different career path might have set him on a completely different life course. So it was interesting to speculate on what would have happened had his life been different.
Overall, I thought this was a very good book, in spite of the fact that I didn’t have much sympathy for the main character. I’d recommend it for anyone who likes post-World War II fiction that works its way into becoming more modern fiction.
Rating: 3.5 stars
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