May 03, 11
Read in July, 2010
Today I finished this book. Last week I had gone out of my way to grab a copy after stumbling across a review of the author and his blog. I was intrigued to know where in Dorset Ali Shaw came from, and a bit of digging led me to discover he was from Dorchester. Not that this impacts on his book at all.
So, the book. Two main characters: Ida and Midas. Midas Crook is the son of Midas Crook who was a hands-off father and husband who seemed to have brought much unhappiness to his family before finally committing suicide.
Ida is the daughter of a free spirit who was wooed by an academic who worked with Midas Crook senior. There is a lot of emphasis on the relationships between parents and children and the love affairs of said parents, which I did find a bit confusing now and again. A good premise for character development, but it got a bit laboured.
Loved the setting. Kept thinking it was somewhere in Scotland, and thought it was brave of Shaw to keep the geographical clues to a minimum. Loved Henry Fuwa and his landscape.
Shaw did pack a lot of story-weaving into this tale, with a few loose ends to foster the imagination. Don't know whether the book is better or worse for leaving these strands flying. Perhaps if every loose end had been tied-up, it would have been a contrite piece of work. Specifically, I wanted to know more about Fuwa and the Millionnaire/ hunting recluse; I wanted to know more about the condition itself, and the link to the environment, and why and how other people had been affected by it.
I loved the ending and Midas' development to overcome his past. Wished he hadn 't got rid of all his photos of her.
On reflection, I would look out for his second novel.