May 26, 2015

Welsh Weekend: Left and Leaving by Jo Verity

 Fifth novel from Richard and Judy Award winner Jo Verity, author of Sweets from Morocco a “pitch perfect evocation of childhood and sibling relationships" Marcel Theroux A bomb explodes in central London and the shockwaves disrupt the lives of everyone in the vicinity. Australian ex-pat Gil is on a grey gap-year working in the hospital to which Vivien brings Irene for treatment; together they try to bring calm where terror reigns. Irene is thrilled with her new friends, they less so with her ongoing interest in their lives. Gil has a girlfriend, who lives in the same building with her two children, and a family back home. Thirty-something Vivien has a high-flying boyfriend and a time-consuming job which may be about to transfer to Germany. But they keep finding reasons to spend time together in the run up to Christmas. Marooned in Tooting by a sudden snowstorm, Vivien and Gil are forced to spend the holiday confronting secrets and surprises and facing up to responsibilities they’ve been complacent about for too long. And still in the background is Irene, intent on filling the holes in her life…

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Review by Tanya
  Left and Leaving is a book about how unforeseen events can change the way you behave and react. You believe your life is going to take a certain path but things can change very suddenly. It also covers how people can become important to you and dependable but only for a short time. The main part of the story takes place in London with some chapters based in Australia.
Vivian Carey is a strong independent woman who misses her mum dearly after her untimely death and she is left to care for her elderly dad, whom she does not get along with. She has a long term boyfriend, Nick, who she sees when either of them can make time. Her main focus in life is her job in the architect company Friel Dravid Associates. She is due to move to Cologne in the New year to set up a new branch which she is looking forward to.
Gil was born in London but his parents moved to Australia when he was a child. After his divorce from his wife he decided to move back and try and make a fresh start for himself without commitments, living an easy life. He works as a medical photographer in the Royal Free Hospital in Islington. He has an open relationship with the Turkish lady, Feray, in the basement floor flat. He is happy with his easy going life, even if he has to watch his spending.  His children in Australia are not so forgiving and feel like he abandoned them.
Circumstances happen to bring these two characters together and they find that there is an unusual pull towards each other. Gil becomes a great support to Vivian through difficult times. Both of them are unsure of what is happening and find it difficult to put it into words. I found this part very interesting and I liked how Vivian seemed to open up to Gil. 
The book is interesting and I liked the way that you get to know the main characters really well as it is told through their eyes. There are quite a few twists in the story that I did not expect. I would like to know what happens after the end of the story, which is always a sign of a good book

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