The story, of an ageing artist, takes a good look at what it feels like to grow old, when your body no longer does what you want it to but your mind says that nothing has changed. The heroine, Nancy Miller is successful but reclusive and it turns out that there is a reason for her reclusiveness. There are things in her past that she wants to keep hidden. When she finds herself agreeing to write her memoirs, with the aid of a young woman called Ana, she realises that there is a danger that her secrets will be revealed and that could mean disaster for her and her reputation. Worse still what will her family will think about her past actions?
When I write, especially when I am creating my characters, I can visualise them. I often start with someone I know, or have seen frequently and use them as a base or template for my character. I can hear how they speak, their tone of voice, maybe the way they walk or the things that they might say. By the end of the process that character has metamorphosed into someone unique, my own creation. That is what happened with Nancy. I would recognise her if I met her in the street. Sharp-tongued, funny, sometimes completely lucid, others forgetful, she is someone struggling to come to terms with her advancing years. I’m sure Maggie Smith could play her role excellently.
Poignant and perceptive
A ghost writer oversteps her brief and a successful artist’s carefully constructed world unravels. This is a poignant, sometimes disturbing and sad read brought to life by the very real portrayal of an elderly woman re-living the past, and failing to see why she should be looking forward to what is left of her life. Readers who enjoy Fallon’s gently paced, perceptive prose will find much to think about in this novel. (JG Harlond THE CHOSEN MAN)