So, this review has been a long time in coming. End of term commitments pushed everything bar frantically working, not sleeping and going out from my mind. But, I've finally gotten round to finishing this. Do you ever have books that make you think to the extent that you don't want to start a new book for a couple of days? Well I do, and this was one of them - I finished it two days ago and am still procrastinating starting a new one. But (and this is a big but) you have to suffer the first 50 pages or so. The sex scenes were pretty unrealistic in this part .... for starters I don't know anyone male or female that would want to engage in sex either whilst on, or with someone who is on their period when they have sex with each other for the first time. There were a few other problems I found with it, but that one really (unfortunately) imprinted itself to my memory. Anyway, PUSH THROUGH THIS - the book is really incredibly written in my opinion. And for an English reader there's a whole host of moments during which you can really feel at home here.
Marin Strang is a woman struggling to cohere her religious upbringing in a Jehovah Witness' household with her *ahem* someone licentious mode of living. She moves to Brighton and almost immediately meets Lawrence Fyre, ecclectic bookshop owner and all-round oddball. Immediately they hit it off, but, as we know, the course of true love never does run smooth ... Filled with tragedy, love and an over-riding investigation into what makes a family, Piano From A 4th Storey Window is a brilliant read.
I find that modern romantic fiction often has a tendency to be pretty poorly written (what ever happened to the likes of the writing in Wuthering Heights?!), but, this is actually successful, good even. And the story ... well, once, as I said, you get over the first section, you really begin to get a sense of these characters. I personally love a good bit of back story in a novel, and this gradually released one, bit by bit, for each character. So, when tragedy strikes, you almost feel Marin and Lawrence's pain yourself.
It raises so many questions about identity *spoiler alert*: what impact does one's upbringing have on one's adult life? What happens when you lose a child which you never really met? How do you deal with that? How do you deal with a lover's relationship history? What is living in Brighton really like?
Have you read it? What did you think?