Archive for January, 2012

Living the dream or living a nightmare?

When you’re stuck in a bit of a rut and fancy a change some people like to go on holiday, others like to get a new haircut and some may like to blow a weeks wage on a shopping spree. As for Cassie, our main character in As Far As You Can Go by Lesley Glaister, she fancies a relocation and fresh start. Cassie is hoping to add a bit of ‘umpf’ to her tired relationship and decides to apply for a job in Australia in the hope that her partner will tag along and their relationship will hit new heights. Cassie applies for the job and is successful and her partner, Graham, decides to accept this new adventure and away they go. Cassie is to complete house duties for a couple who live on their own in a remote setting and Graham can chill out and enjoy the scenery which tempts him back into his painting. A dream job if ever there was one.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, arriving at your accommodation and finding that there is no bathroom is a little unnerving to say the least, but our characters do not let this dampen their spirits and continue to sample the delights of the Australian outback. The tranquility, the scenery, the endless supply of good food and wine – oh, did I mention the wife who lives in a shed? No, I don’t think I did. Well the wife lives in a shed. Something I’d find a bit on the odd side but not Cassie and Graham. In fact, they very rarely seem to be unsettled by any of the odd goings on which start to happen on this desolate patch of land. As the story tootles along, as a reader we can see that there are some serious issues surrounding their employer and his disturbed wife. Cassie and Graham eventually start to understand that their life changing adventure may in fact cost them their lives. The unsettling events which begin to arise force them to make the decision to escape, but will they escape unharmed or will they be scared forever?

Interesting stuff, and I for one quite enjoyed this little novel. Yes, it was predictable in areas but the idea of the story did catch my attention and successfully managed to hold it for the whole 336 pages. As for our group, we had mixed views on this one. Apart from the odd one who really didn’t take a liking to it, the general feel was that it was an interesting read but nothing to get too excited about. The way in which it is written is simple enough and the intrigue of the storyline will keep you turning the page to a certain point. There are some disturbing and creepy aspects to the book which may unnerve you a little but it’s the psychological aspect to the book rather than gruesome goings on that will chill you to the bone.

We did manage to squeeze out a good discussion for this book and found that the author left us with more questions than answers but although this is a book we all managed to finish it wasn’t a book that we could easily recommended to a friend. Maybe to one who has a taste for the psychological thrillers but who doesn’t care too much for any twists and turns and ‘wow, I didn’t see that coming!’ bits in it! Like I say, I did enjoy this one and it certainly wasn’t a book to go on our ‘oh my god that was horrific’ list so I guess I can safely say give it a try and see what you think!

Our next book is A Simple Act of Violence by R.J.Ellory. Roger has kindly agreed to send the group some questions to help with our discussion and has agreed to answer several burning questions that may arise in our group meeting – so it should be a good one!


About the group

The Tees Valley Book Group meets at Stockton Central Library at 6.30pm on the first Tuesday of the month.

If you would like more information about what the group is reading, please visit www.newwritingnorth.com/submit/join-tees-valley-book-group.

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