Germaine Kiecke was a foundling, an orphan. Now she is a successful art academic who defines herself by her profession and prefers to experience the world through art and an augmented reality game called Happy Family. But when the artist Tom Hannah, the creative force behind the game, moves to Spain, surrounds himself with high walls, three large dogs, and a runaway who teaches him to think like a tree, his existential melt-down threatens all Germaine holds dear.
James has written two novels, The Wrong Story and An Other’s Look, and a novella, Fizz. He has had published a number of prize-winning short stories and a travelogue of his journey through Central America. He has a Master of Studies in Creative Writing and is a member of the Society of Authors, English PEN and the International Flann O’Brien Society. He is an occasional presenter on Frome FM’s On-Air Book Group, a contributor to Carers UK’s creative writing campaigns and was an ambassador for a Shooting Star – a charity for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions.
This was a strange, darkly comic novel. Everyone in it is slightly unhinged, most of the plot takes place in a depressing Spanish village, where the characters essentially act appallingly apart from Germaine, who observes all of this chaos with a sort of detachment, despite being the nexus in some ways for all of the people being there.
Despite this, I actually really enjoyed this book, crazy subplots and all. The characters are well drawn, I could really see them all running around in the hills, driving clapped out cars and being chased by an assortment of dogs.