New Book – Listening to Voices by Sara MacDonald

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This is a novel about conflicts within family.

We are introduced to Ian, Anna, and Jessie. This is the second marriage for both of them, and Jessie is Anna’s stepdaughter. Anna has children herself, twin boys who are travelling around India at the moment. Anna’s first husband was in the army, and when he was forty, he died mysteriously. Anna relates all the deaths in her family: her mother, who died of cancer, and June, a neighbour who was like a second mother, who died unexpectedly. The way she thinks of Ian and Jessie is quite peculiar. There is little warmth in her, and I have the feeling that she married Ian because she was lonely, and not because she was madly in love. Her relationship with Jessie is strange as well; she longs to be closer to her, but when at the beginning the girl tried to talk to her, Anna even hid from her, so naturally, Jessie now keeps her distance. This is really strange, and I can’t really relate to Anna.

Ian brings a big problem to this marriage. His first wife and Jessie’s mum has been section for years because she suffers from psychosis, and now she has been released. The social services say that Hester is all right as long as she takes her pills, but from the first moment Hester doesn’t intend to take her pills every day. I don’t understand how this woman has been left out because from the first she starts a harassing campaign, sending incendiary letters to Anna and phoning to insult her. The social services assured them that Hester won’t be given their telephone number of address, but we know that she now has it after she sneaked into her mother’s house and found the details. I am afraid that Hester won’t be happy with just telephone calls, and now she will want to see Jessie, which the girl fears.

 

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