Skip to main content

The Loss Adjustor

I've just finished reading The Loss Adjustor, by Aifric Campbell. Born in Ireland, as a young woman Campbell moved to Sweden where she studied and taught linguistics. So why she then went into London banking for 17 years poses a question. Money, probably. But in The Loss Adjustor it's words that matter - Campbell excels in two things that make a great novel - pace and description. The Loss Adjustor is Caro, or Caroline. She works in the city, anonymously and without fuss. The reader is brought back to Caro's childhood days, when her neighbours, Cornac and Estelle, are her best friends and substitute siblings. 35 year old Caro harbours a loss that is teasingly and expertly revealed, revelling in and then quickly but not thoughtlessly smashing the fantasy that Caro lives in the grip of. The past runs parallel with the present, but the future does not feel it is a prospect until she gets to know and befriend the elderly Tom Warren, who harbours his own, thankfully and realistically irreconcilable, regrets and losses. It is a moving story, with hints of Plath's The Bell Jar. It is her second novel, her debut being the widely praised The Semantics of Murder, which I have on my to read pile. The title hints to the drawing of her linguistic past. I have just started on Tove Jansson's novel The True Deceiver. More anon.

Popular posts from this blog

Who was Mary Burns?

On 7th January 1863 Mary Burns was found dead from a suspected heart attack. She was 43 years old. Since her death Mary has received barely any attention despite the fact that she spent over twenty years as the common-law wife of Friedrich Engels, one of the world’s most influential thinkers and the co-founder of Marxism.

Born in 1822, Mary was the oldest surviving child of textile dyer and factory operative, Michael Burns, and Mary Conroy, Irish immigrants from Tipperary. Mary’s parents had married at St. Patrick’s in an area known casually as Irish Town, one of few Catholic churches in Manchester at that time. The year of Mary’s birth and her infancy were significant in that Manchester was still dealing with the aftermath of the event that became known as the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, a peaceful protest of the working-classes on the site of St. Peter’s Fields in which several people were killed and hundreds injured. The Massacre occurred when magistrates, alarmed at the size of t…

Booker Shortlist announced

It's been a while... I know. Dog walking on the Downs, a bit of theatre, a bit of baking, a bit of writing etcetera etcetera. I also managed to read two complete books in the past month, which I was so pleased about. I had not read a whole book for about a year. The first was A Lie About My Father by Scottish poet/writer, John Burnside; a very well written memoir about father and son, but like all memoirs, some unreliability I felt. Poignant and tragic in equal measure. Then my husband returned from Cyprus (too hot for me this time of year, I can barely cope with England!) with Sebastian Faulks's Birdsong. He loved it. And then I read it and also loved it. I had originally picked it up several years ago but didn't get beyond Amiens, where the first section is set, but was really glad I did this time around. Another incredibly well written book in the style of a good Victorian! I felt a bit unsure about bits of Elizabeth, in the later section, but I have never learnt so muc…

Days Without End and Mosul's Avengers

So fed up am I of buying books that I don't finish, that I decided I would go to the local library for a copy of Sebastian Barry's latest novel, Days Without End, which has just been awarded the Costa Prize. Unfortunately, I could only borrow it on the proviso that it was return by 1 February. I returned it the day after, without having finished it. I was about three quarters through, and will now have to go out and buy it for the final quarter. I loved Barry's The Secret Scripture, and on every publication of a new work, his star rises. Days Without End follows two boys, one descended from native Americans, and the other having arrived on one of the notorious coffin ships from famine struck Sligo. The tale is brave, funny, touching, but most of all Barry has achieved the perfect pitch. It is quite remarkable.

Another remarkable work comes in the form of reportage in the New Yorker (February 6, 2017) The Avengers of Mosul, by Luke Mogelson 'A Reporter at Large'.