Leela Dutt's Reviews > 27 (Twenty-Seven): Six Friends, One Year

27 (Twenty-Seven) by R.J. Heald
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Aug 27, 13

27 is an absorbing novel which revolves round a set of friends who met at university and have all now reached the landmark age of twenty-seven. What have they done with their lives? Have they reached the place they hoped they would by now? We follow them through a year which turns out to be momentous for each of them.

The characters are sharply observed and as I read, I quickly came to feel they were my friends too – I almost looked them up on Facebook! They are very different from each other in personality and in the problems that life throws at them. Among others there’s Katie, just back from teaching in India and wondering what to do next; Andy who has come to see that his marriage is no longer working; James the perfect one who seems to have everything, until his friends discover that he has nothing; and Dave – dear hopeless Dave; what can I say about Dave?

It is particularly enjoyable to see how they react with each other – some of them support each other, some are neglectful, and occasionally a character is quite unable to see why the others are so self-absorbed and wrapped up in petty problems. Because we know them all so well, we see every problem from several different points of view and we sympathise with each one of the friends.

The tension builds up over the year as we really need to know how their separate problems can be resolved. All along we feel we are in the hands of an accomplished storyteller, and of course there is a satisfying climax.

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