Sunday, 25 October 2009

The Standing Pool by Adam Thorpe

DATE PUBLISHED: 2008 DATE READ: October 2009 NOTES: Dissatisfied academics Nick and Sarah Mallinson decide to take a sabbatical in France and agree to rent the house of Lucy and Alan Sandler. As they set off with their three young daughters they anticipate an exciting time for all the family during which they will both pick up the threads of their academic work. But life in France turns out to be less than idyllic and the house seems to have a dark shadow looming over it. The characterisations of the British folk were all good. The monstrous Sandlers were brilliantly portrayed and the Mallinson family seemed very believable. The appearance of Nick’s feckless son from his first marriage probably struck a chord with many parents! Unfortunately the local French were all portrayed as slightly batty or sinister. The plot was all a bit thin and not very credible and the tone of the writing veered from farce to serious sexual violence. It was as if the writer was unsure of which direction he was headed. Also I do wonder for how much longer novels set in the present can still hark back to wartime. And why would apparently intelligent people rent a house with a swimming pool when they have very young children who can’t swim??? Obviously educated but with no common sense! But nonetheless this was an entertaining read.

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