Author: Lucy Caldwell
Publisher: Faber & Faber, 2011
ISBN 13: 978-0571270521
By Kathryn Lewis
I visited a second hand book shop and picked up quite a few books, most of which I’d already heard of and wanted to buy beforehand. However, there were a few books that I picked out randomly, one of which was The Meeting Point by Lucy Caldwell. To be honest, one of the main things that initially made me pick out this book was that it has a very pretty cover design and it’s very different from the style of books that I usually read–so I wasn’t sure what I’d think of it.
The Meeting Point is about married couple Ruth and Euan, who move to Bahrain with their young daughter so that Euan can preach there. However, upon arrival, it turns out that Euan’s reasons for going there aren’t what they initially seemed, and Ruth now has to deal with this. The book also simultaneously follows the story of “Noor,” a miserable teenager who lives opposite with her uninterested father and is dealing with a big event from her past.
The description used in the novel is fantastic. Bahrain provides an excellent backdrop for really colorful, rich description. Caldwell does this so well that it really comes to life from the pages. I also really connected with both of the main characters, Ruth and Noor, even though they were very different from each other. I think Caldwell’s ability to write both consecutively is incredible. Despite both of them having considerable character flaws, they were written in such a way that I could really see everything from their point of view and understand their actions.
The story is a great study of family life and explores aspects that are both in a sensitive and honest way. The book runs through a whole range of emotions and has enough mystery and tension to make me want to keep reading throughout. I was originally a bit worried that the religious element could interfere too much with the storyline, but this was blended really well and didn’t overshadow any other elements. I did find myself skipping sections of the novel that seemed to drag on, particularly some of Noor’s diary entries, and some of the bible passages, as I didn’t feel they added that much to the story and made it longer than it needed to be. Other than that, I really enjoyed the way the story was written.
I can’t say the story has left a huge impression on me but I did think it was a well written and interesting novel that kept me wanting to read on. It was refreshing to read a book that was so different to the kinds of books I was used to reading. It has definitely encouraged me to try a wider range of books.
About the Author
Born in Belfast in 1981, Lucy Caldwell read English at Queens’ College, Cambridge and is a graduate of Goldsmith’s MA in Creative and Life Writing.
She is the author of three novels, Where They Were Missed (2006), The Meeting Point (2011), which featured on BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime and was awarded the Dylan Thomas Prize, and All the Beggars Riding (2013) which also featured on Book at Bedtime, was chosen for Belfast’s and Derry’s One City One Book initiative, a Fiction Uncovered choice and shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year. Lucy’s stage plays (Leaves, Guardians, Notes to Future Self) and radio dramas (Girl From Mars, Avenues of Eternal Peace, Witch Week, The Watcher on the Wall) have won awards including the George Devine Award and the Imison Award. | Website
Text © 2014 Kathryn Lewis
Re-print © 2014 The Black Lion Journal
Re-printed with permission.
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