Review: Swan by Katherine Hole
From the beginning Madeline’s life was a narrative of disappointment and broken dreams. Plump, plain and past her sell by date, happiness and hope were no longer part of her vocabulary. But one day like a bolt from the blue, destiny delivers a massive dose of compensation in the form of David Powell, her strange and elusive neighbour. From the moment they meet, Madeline is plunged into a world of excitement and intrigue where nothing is what it seems. This classic reversal of fortune tale reminds us that ultimately life is a mystery, perfectly able to demolish and reconfigurate even the most hopeless situations.
Oiy! What a pickle! SWAN is marketed as the next BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY but unfortunately it falls well short of the mark. Madeline, our heroine, is experiencing a mid life crisis when we meet her. Single, stuck in a dead end job and terribly lonely, Madeline is comforted by her obsession with a famous American film star. Determined to make a change, Madeline reaches out to her new neighbor, David, and so begins a relationship of the most demeaning sort. Madeline is encouraged to put up with David’s frequent unannounced disappearances, mysterious lack of funds or work, and overall lack of intimacy. The book strongly stresses the idea that a relationship with any man is better than being single. A plot twist towards the end of the book provides a happily ever after of such ridiculous proportions it was difficult to resist throwing the book against the wall.
The writing is conversational, contemporary and utterly depressing. The characters are cartoonish and self obsessed. The novel’s “funnier” moments are disturbingly off key. Even offered as a free read, I would pass on this one.