I was a bit confused initially – I picked up Ruth Jones’ novel thinking it was a memoir, mainly because I’d seen the train-station posters of her leaning on the book and just assumed it was about her. I love Ruth Jones and her work (especially Gavin and Stacey), so I was thrilled by the prospect. And then it turns out it’s pure fiction: another excellently told story of hers, showing her remarkable knowledge of people and microcosms of human behaviour.
It follows the interwoven lives of two families, an affair between Kate and Callum causing ripple effects from Edinburgh through to London. What was incredibly impressive and rare is that I didn’t really like any of the characters, in that their decisions and behaviour was so far from what I’d ever do or consider acceptable. And yet I was compelled throughout to learn their fates. That’s some very special fiction-writing. The kind that can still make you interested in, able to sympathise with, characters who you cannot empathise with.
This is a proof copy I collected whilst working at Penguin; I’ve been reading it by the pool in Italy, and it has served me very well. I’ve popped it on the communal bookshelf and hope someone else picks it up for some poolside devouring.