As I had guessed, an event that will mark this family’s life is the terrorist attacks in New York in 2001.
Both Charlie and Joe work in the Twin Towers, and when Elly sees the news, she instantly calls them both. She can’t contact them and she watches in horror as the towers fall. Then Charlie calls, telling her he hadn’t been at work that morning, but then he says that nobody has seen Joe.
Elly travels to New York and she believes Joe has died. We see her bitterness as she mourns her brother. As she knows there is nothing to be done, she returns to Cornwall. Her mother can’t believe her son is dead, and she keeps saying that Joe is alive, a fact that has open a rift between her and her husband. Another person who doesn’t believe Joe is dead is Jenny Penny, who writes to Elly to say that. And then Charlie calls, saying that Joe has been found alive.
The story is that a man found him unconscious on a bench, and Joe was sent to hospital where he had been since. When he woke up, he didn’t remember a thing. Grace, his nurse, called him Bill, and then in his clothes she found the card for his choir, and when she called, the truth came.
Elly travels back to New York, and even though she is full of joy, she soon realises that things won’t be easy. Joe doesn’t remember anything, not even who he used to be. When Joe is released, things are even worse. Joe becomes mean and unkind to her when she tries to tell him about his life. It is as if he refuses the person he used to be. He doesn’t want to be told what his life used to be like, and he refuses to return to Cornwall. When they go to Charlie’s cottage, Elly is in a low mood, knowing that Joe won’t return to England and afraid of what this fact will do to her parents. It is then that she explodes and tells Joe what she thinks and all the things about him. It was a very intense moment. Elly has lost the person that knew her so well. It was Joe who knew all about her, and the one who knew why she is the way she is. We know that Elly has no friends other than Jenny, but she hasn’t counted for years. So losing her brother to amnesia was as if he were dead for real. I also understand Joe. The pressure to be a person he doesn’t remember is great, so it is like an imposition he doesn’t want, and it’s natural he refuses to accommodate to her sister and friend’s memories because I guess he wants to be his own person.
And then after Elly’s outburst, Joe remembers something Trehaven, the house in Cornwall, and from that moment he starts remembering little by little. They return to Cornwall where he is received by Nancy, their parents, and Arthur.
The end is close. I wonder if Elly and Jenny will finally re-met if she leaves jail. I hope so. That would be nice.