Sunday, January 08, 2006

Tell The Bees

posted by Tim Walters @ 8:24 PM

Graham Joyce, The Facts Of Life.

This is very different from The Tooth Fairy, and surprisingly, well, normal. In fact, it verges on chick-lit, with that currently popular whiff of magic realism. There's even a handy book-club primer in the back. It's the story of a large extended working-class family ruled by a canny, benevolent matriarch who talks to ghosts, and while I can't think of another novel with exactly those ingredients off the top of my head, it does seem like well-trodden ground.

That said, it's excellent. The evocation of post-war life (and the Blitz itself) are near-perfect (although a premature Sixties vibe crops up in places), the creepy bits are, as one might expect, quite successful, and the characters are a pleasure to visit. While I wouldn't rate it as high as The Tooth Fairy, I'm glad to see that Joyce is versatile.


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