12 November 2019

Review: THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR, Liz Byrski

  • this edition published in 2016 by Pan Macmillan (Read How you Want)
  • ISBN 978-1-52522-793-6
  • 530 pages
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (author website)

Over the years, the residents of Emerald Street have become more than just neighbours, they have built lasting friendships over a drink and chat on their back verandahs.

Now a new chapter begins with the children having left home. Helen and Dennis have moved from their high maintenance family property to an apartment by the river with all the mod cons. For Joyce and Mac, the empty nest has Joyce craving a new challenge, while Mac fancies retirement on the south coast.

Meanwhile Polly embarks on a surprising long-distance relationship. But she worries about her friend next door. Stella’s erratic behaviour is starting to resemble something much more serious than endearing eccentricity…

My Take

First of all, blog follower, let me point out that this is not crime fiction.

It is in fact the second novel I've read by this remarkable writer who just seems to hit the spot for me. So many of the scenarios that she uses in this novel resonate with me.

I think when I was young, the people that I knew in their 60s and 70s all seemed at the end of their lives. I never thought of them as embarking on the next stage of life. They had had hard lives, compared with us, and I don't suppose many of them had so many years to go. Things are different now.

Our street, indeed our suburb, is going through something similar to what happens in Emerald Street. People are moving out, houses are being demolished, blocks sub-divided, apartments being built. Those of us left are well into retirement and things have changed for good, and not necessarily for the better.

This is a well constructed, well written book. To use the words of one of the characters, the scenarios feel very "authentic."

I have enjoyed it very much.

My rating: 5.0

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