Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan


DATE READ: December 2010

NOTES: Rose appears to have a very enviable life. Both she and her husband Nathan are in well-paid jobs, her good-natured children are emerging from University and she lives in a comfortable house with a much loved and well-cared for garden. So what can go wrong?

When Nathan reveals that he is having an affair and about to leave her, Rose sinks into despondency. Her problems far from over – his new love, Minty, is Rose’s underling at work and within a short time the ambitious Minty is promoted and Rose is squeezed out. This could then have become a story along the well-trodden path of the bitter, wronged and innocent woman versus a callous man. But Buchan avoids this and is much more nuanced in her approach.

It is a subtle story of a woman coming to terms with both her past and her present. Her children are very well drawn – and far from problem-free! I thought the only wrong note was the traitorous Minty turning up uninvited to a family celebration.

The Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman holds some lovely writing. The descriptions of the garden are particularly good – especially how the sudden neglect of the garden reveals itself. (Analogous with Rose’s neglect of her marriage?)

My first book by this author – but I shall look out for more!

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