The Trouble with Goats and Sheep Kindle Edition
|Length: 465 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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"Depth of Lies" by E. C. Diskin
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This is a charming book, full of wit and wisdom.
Having said that, I didn't find it an easy read. It jumps from first-person POV to varied third person, and it can be confusing and grating to be in so many heads. The story also flits between two timelines, requiring even more mental gymnastics. It's also a very local and parochial novel, set in a street in a town in the East Midlands of England in 1976/1967. I think I have that covered. Although I'm Australian, I'm of English background and I happened to be in the UK in that hot summer of 1976. I did wonder while I was reading the book, though, whether people of differing cultural backgrounds would miss many of the local references and nuances.
Enough of the nit-picking. This is a novel that rewards readers who stick with it.
It didn't surprise me to read at the end of the book the author, Joanna Cannon, worked as a hospital doctor, specialising in psychiatry, because this novel delves deeply into human nature and human quirks and failings.
It wouldn't surprise me if the author is a keen observer of people's mannerisms and the things around her, too, because she brings these things to the book in order to paint vivid pictures. She uses sights, sounds and even smells to breathe life into the most mundane settings.
Much of the humour in the book comes courtesy of 10-year-old Grace, who is a regular little Miss Marple. Sometimes she seems wise beyond her years, other times she looks at an adult world through child's eyes and misunderstanding.
The ending leaves things a little up in the air, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Lots of excellent novels keep you thinking even when the words have ended. If this book has a main message, though, it is never to assume. So I'm not going to make guesses, even educated ones.
Read the book so you can come up with your own assumptions! It will be time well spent.