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The Infinity Pool Kindle Edition
|Length: 314 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Top customer reviews
This was one of those surprise gems that I find now and again on Rosie's review team list. An unusual and intelligently written holiday drama, the story takes place on an unnamed island where the locals fail to find accord with the owners, staff and guests of Serendipity, a New Age/bohemian/back to nature type retreat. It centres round some jagged relationships: charismatic womaniser Adrian, village girl Maria who catches his eye, Serendipity regular Alice (wonderfully obsessive and creepy!). Then there is the effervescent Ruby who finds love with a local, female detective Chris, who isn't quite sure what she's signed up for, and Bernard, the creative writing teacher who is frustrated and bitter about his own inability to produce any work of note. Eventually the resentments and incompatibilities erupt, not only between incomers and locals but between the camp residents.
The book starts with a dramatic episode, then goes back to September 2010, which sees Adrian at his lecherous best, the camp successful, but the seeds of discontent among the villagers are already sown deep. Fast forward to June 2011, and Serendipity is all but falling apart, with key people missing, guests unhappy, and finances falling short.
The subtle characterisation in this novel is excellent; there's a hint of mockery of the New Age claptrap in some of the guests' silliness, and I smiled at the smugness of those who considered themselves more 'in touch with their feelings' than some of the newcomers (especially those who had not yet experienced the wonder of Adrian). The comparison between the simple lives of the villagers and the spoiled Northern Europeans who aim to slough off their weight of the privilege by rather self-consciously going 'back to basics' is artfully portrayed.
At the dramatic end, some of the characters who were dubious about the place find that their lives have changed for the best after all, though perhaps not in the way that Serendipity intended.
Alice is an excellent character; I spent much of the novel wishing that more was being done with her, and felt some of her potential went undiscovered by Ms Norrie, but her end scenes really worked and I decided that, in this case, less was more. The high spot the whole novel, though, is the sections from the point of view of the character who has a head injury. So good I read them twice. I've been close to someone with a brain injury and worked with some sufferers, and this gives such an insight into how it (probably) really is for them. He has quite an adventure; it's entertaining to read as well as being an eye-opener.
This is how to write a novel with a fair bit of domestic detail and without great swathes of thrills and spills, and still make it a real page turner!
The story opens with an attack on a key member of Serendipity, it then turns back almost a year. Adrian is a known womaniser and searching for a fresh injection of life he befriends a young local girl. Island villagers already dislike visitors to the Serendipity camp, they find them intrusive and disrespectful of their local culture and customs. There is often an undercurrent of trouble waiting to erupt between the campers and the villagers.
When the camp re-opens the following year, the leader fails to turn up. Magda, the camp’s head housekeeper makes sure the camp continues to run as best she can, but some returning campers are disappointed by the absence and the camp’s atmosphere degenerates without their leader. Relationships with the villagers heat up and become violent.
You won’t find cosy characters here, many were selfish and awkward showing how they didn’t mix well with the locals. There are several storylines vying for attention, and the ending wasn’t what I expected at all. This book is quite different from lots of mainstream dramas, but will draw its own audience of readers.
Adrian Hartman runs the Serendipity holiday community on an unknown island. The location is kept foggy which is quite a difficult feat to keep all the way through a book. However, this adds to the strangeness of the setting: The British holidaying in their own cocoon and sets up the background beautifully.
Adrian starts off as a strong character. His return to normal life is portrayed with great finesse, his POV being one of the strongest in the book. All the more surprising as he goes missing both from the camp and from the book. This only underscores Norrie as a talented writer who has created a unique setting in The Infinity Pool, thus named by the obvious pool in the story with either infinite possibilities or stretching out to infinity.
Norrie almost lost me a couple of times when she goes heavily into the details about the physical aspects of maintaining Serendipity. But she managed to pull me back in when she gets back in with the plot. And although this is weak, it’s something to overlook easily when everything else is just right. Especially when Alice turns up with yet another wacky turn of her mind.
I could’ve had more of Chris. She’s very likable. Alice is memorably creepy. I can feel Adrian’s frustration as his body and mind grapple with every day life. The Infinity Pool ends with a bang, with acceptable resolutions to the various conflicts. Norrie is a writer to look forward to.
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