Life has awkward disjointed moments. One moment you're doing fine, walking along and then suddenly something hits you between the eyes. A surprise, a bolt out of the blue and always, ALWAYS when you least expect it. Those moments, the pivotal points where things go from being ok to a disaster are the best way I can describe the events in this novel.
Joe works as a teacher and whilst we'd hope that he would be a well adjusted person that's not the case. Life has conspired against him. Perhaps it was the loss of his parents? He's trying to work through things in therapy but it seems hopeless. His affair with a married woman isn't helping matters. His lost love up in Preston is another added complication. Joe's life is out of control and his decisions are rash, careless and even dangerous.
Nigel Bird puts power in his words and, to use a cliche, we watch as Joe's life spirals out of control. I found this a gripping read and if I'm honest I can't exactly put my finger on why. It flows, it's well written. There are moments of happiness, of sex and joy but these are brief glimpses. At times Bird's writing is terrifically descriptive and it captures your imagination easily. A dark story that will not be to the tastes of all but if you have any interest in human relationships and the darkness that lies just behind the everyday minutiae then you'll enjoy this novel.
Rating : 4/5