Wednesday, 3 October 2018

'A Small Life'

A lonely man living in a small community by a river joins a rowing club. Rowing gives the man a feeling of belonging and contentment, so much so that he becomes dependent on the short voyages up and downstream. Then a young woman arrives, sister of the boat's cox, and the man becomes uncomfortable, resentful. His unwillingness to accept the young woman culminates in the emergence of a strange entity from the riverside vegetation.

The being may or may not be real. The story depends on the reader not being entirely sure. The man, who has a drink problem, could be a violent, dangerous individual. Or he could be faced with an impossible situation, and handling it as best he can. I don't know. This story is apparently simple, but hard to analyse. What is clear is how desperate for some kind of connection many of us are. The man in this story finds a life worth living simply by rowing with a few acquaintances. The woman, Jess, seems to need more.

And I can't say any more about the story without giving away the whole plot. Another well-balanced tale, showing how well Carly Holmes creates convincing characters who are never simply heroes or villains.

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