Saturday, 5 December 2009

Catching Shellfish ...

.. between the Tides by Rosalyn Chissick.
A strange little book that I picked up at a charity shop, probably attracted by the esoteric title, and the fact that Helen Dunmore's name is on the front recommending it.

It is a story about stories. Magda has a life that is going nowhere and falling apart at the same time and she tells stories, probably invented ones, about her past life to people she meets and to the reader. She seems to be always trying to escape to something better, she suffers very badly from 'the grass is greener' syndrome. And never finds anything better nor people who can give her what she appears to so badly need. All in all not a very satisfying tale, none of the characters have much solidity to them, many are even nameless, as they float past on the breeze, and Magda is not in any way sympathetic. As it comments on the back she lives in some kind of fantasy world where she no longer knows or remembers which bits are real and which aren't. She clings to people but seems strangely emotionally detached from everything. The only thing that I did like was the quiet little observations she makes about life, the universe and everything.

"The tick of her watch as the seconds fall away. She imagines she can catch them, one by one, dropping off the end of her wrist. Catch them before they disappear." (p.105)
And then towards the end when she is abandoned once again by someone she thought she could trust:
"After an hour, she knew. Though she fought against knowing.
After two hours, she thought: Sheboy has gone, I should be crying. But when what you have most feared happens, suddenly, and for a moment, there is nothing to fear." (p.154)

But mainly I just found the book somewhat depressing. There is no link to anywhere as I could find very little information about the author. She appears to have collaborated on a book called The Gift with a psychic called Mia Dolan, which I refuse to link to because I find all such things to be utter tosh.

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