05/03/2002

In Place of Fallen Leaves (by Tim Pears)

I hadn't come across Tim Pears before, but found a book by him in a second-hand shop, and it looked interesting.

'In Place of Fallen Leaves' is told from the point of view of a teenager called Alison. It's set at the end of the hot summer of 1986 in England.

Despite having read several excellent reviews, I wasn't particularly impressed with this book. The people were certainly realistic, and conversation flowed fairly smoothly; on the whole the writing was very good.

Yet there were some very odd changes of perspective that shouldn't be possible in a book told in the first person. Not that I particularly mind when authors break the conventions, but I found this jarred.

Moreoever there were many flashbacks interspersed with the present in a way I found totally confusing. Just to add to my problems, much of the speech was written in strongly accented Devonshire English, which made for very hard reading at times.

It's about childhood, and memory, and fear of the future. It should have been moving - just about every other review I've read of this book praises it to the skies, so perhaps I'm missing something. Or maybe it just isn't my kind of book. It was the author's debut novel, but I'm not inspired to read anything else that he's written.

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