Alison Kagen's Reviews > Flying Under Bridges

Flying Under Bridges by Sandi Toksvig
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Aug 12, 11


I chose this in part because I’d read and enjoyed an earlier novel (Whistling for the Elephants). And crucially, because of a front-cover comment: “very funny”.

I really enjoyed this book. I happily recommend it to anyone who enjoys something that is a relatively easy read, but that also makes you think.

The story and action is pretty much contained within the somewhat limited and possibly clichéd locale of a small English village. It gives away the main dramatic occurrence on page 2. It has an interesting narrative technique: it alternates letters from the main character (bored and boring housewife Eve Marshall), explaining her life and recent actions to her good friend from school days (Inge Holbrook), recently returned to the village from a life in the public domain.

The writing style is quite light, certainly humourous. This example is early on: “In some ways I think it’s quite simple. I mean, guests ruin weddings all the time, although I will admit it is probably less usual for them to do it by killing the groom.”

Fundamentally, the story is Eve’s: she has suddenly come to see herself as others do: a middle-aged, middle class wife-and-mother whose children have grown up and are leaving home, whose husband takes little interest in her, has no respect for her. She has a thoughtful and interesting interior process going on, while remaining predictable and uninteresting on the outside.

The successive events that both Eve and Inge deal with, principally a range of generalised and specific misogynistic and lesbophobic actions of others, continue to be narrated with a light touch. But they are also desperately sad and tragic, not in the least funny.
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