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The View from Here Paperback – February 14, 2012
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Praise for The View from Here:
“This novel packs a wallop.”—Free-Lance Star
"A debut novel that asks the question: Can an adult life well lived cancel early indiscretions?”—Shelf Awareness
“The View from Here is an unexpected character study, an examination of people caught between the wiles of youth and the wisdom of age and of one woman who learns to accept the intrinsic value of both.”—Booklist
Praise for Deborah McKinlay:
“Witty and incisive.”—Esquire (UK)
“Irresistible.”—Daily Record (Scotland)
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Deborah McKinlay has published half a dozen nonfiction titles in the UK, and her books have been translated into numerous languages. Her work has appeared in British Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Esquire. She lives in South West England. The View from Here is her first novel.
From the Hardcover edition.
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The story is very engaging -- the book is a memorable page-turner-- and although the characters (mostly the idle rich) are not very likable, I was riveted to see what would happen next. I thought I knew, that it was predictable, but I was wrong.
I won't spoil it for you by describing the ending, but it was a total surprise and the stunning final pages pulled the whole book together in an unusual way. She's really a great writer.
I look forward to more women's literary fiction from McKinlay.And by the way, the protagonist's illness plays only a minor role in the book, so if (like me) you're put off by books with vivid descriptions of long, ugly illnesses, you won't get any of that here.
I really don't want to say more because it's an unusual story. Just read it.
When I read of her first fiction book"s release I made sure to read it as soon as I could in hopes of finding a "new favourite author". I was not dissapointed. In fact, I stayed up half the night to finish it.
Frances is a 22 year old English girl eekling out an existance giving English lessons in coastal Mexico. There she meets up with a disparate group of Americans staying in a gorgeous mansion on a private beach. Two decades later as she is dying of cancer, she decides to write down her memories and deal with her own role in an illicit love affair that led to betrayal, tragedy and death.
Laugh out loud funny at times, the novel is also heartbreaking at times t as Frances deals with the news of her own husband's affair- news she never expected to know of in her last months on earth. Kharma, it seems, can be quite the be-yatch!
This is the perfect book to take on a beach vacation or to curl up with if you are stuck at home on a cold, wintery day. I look fully forward to McKinley's future fictional endeavours ... I am now a true fan !
However Frances feels betrayed as she has found a romantic letter that ties her husband to his book editor Josee, the London-based editor of his books. Instead of confronting Phillip, Frances follows him to London where she sees him say goodbye to Josee. As she knows she is dying, she looks back to herself in 1976 as a twentyish woman in Mexico eking out a living by teaching English. There she met three wealthy selfish American couples (Patsy and Richard, Bee Bee and Ned, and Sally and Mason) who she initially cannot distinguish between the extender Severance family members. However, she and Mason have an affair; which she rationalized by blaming Sally until she realizes her lover was having sex with Patsy too. As her death looms, Frances relooks at her relationship with Phillip who she knows loved her though he betrayed her.
The View from Here is that this is an engaging insightful character study. The story line contrasts Frances as twenty-two years old who believed she could do anything and selfishly went after whatever or whoever she desires without a care for others; vs. the forty something dying Frances who is no long shallow as she has cared for others like Chloe and forgives her beloved Phillip for his indiscretions. The protagonist will have readers ponder whether the sums of a person's good deeds and bad deeds can be accrued like debits and credits on an accounting journal.
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*I received this book from the publisher Soho Press in exchange for an honest review.Read more