Gavin F (gavluvsga) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Gavin F

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Book #29: Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty

This book, which I read based on a recommendation, is about a retired couple, Gerry and Stella, on holiday in Amsterdam. I started reading this immediately expecting there to be high drama, maybe a huge falling out and potential break up between the characters.

But it wasn't really like that at all.

Hardly anything happens in this story, except that the narrative goes into huge amounts of detail about how the characters are spending their holiday, and amazingly, it works. The writing felt long-winded at times, but the style made me want to keep reading.

The characters were more developed than ones in some longer books than I'd read, mostly through the use of flashbacks, which did occasionally appear unexpectedly so I had to go back and read carefully to realise what was happening (this is not a book you can speed read). The flashbacks reveal things about the characters that I hadn't guessed at first, and provide some drama late on in the story, revolving around a shocking event from Stella's past that has a big effect on Stella's decision to visit Amsterdam; it is revealed in the best chapter of the book, which revolves entirely around Stella.

So, this felt like an unconventional book; the characters don't really change throughout the story, but I did get to learn something about them, and they felt like a couple that could be bought back for another novel in the future.
Tags: fiction, non-genre fiction, travel fiction

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