After my experiments with an author who turned out to be age-inappropriate for me I have veered the other way and read Moving, the story of Edwina, a woman in her late seventies, who is planning to sell the house she has lived in for over fifty years. We also look back with her over marriages, a career as an illustrator and fractured relationships with children and step-children. The author, Jenny Eclair, has previously been better known as a comedian and Grumpy Old Woman but on the evidence of this she will also have a great future as a novelist.
The first section of the story follows Edwina, then the next deals with a young drama student who became involved with Edwina’s beloved son Charlie. Finally, we hear from Lucas, the step-son whose actions caused the whole family to self-destruct. I loved the way that we got to see the story from so many angles and really appreciated the way that each point of view was delivered in its own voice. Edwina starts out as a rather typically confused older lady but we quickly see beyond that to the passionate and free-thinking young woman she was. The budding actress, Fern, and her early 80s student life is equally well drawn (and I know, I was there…) and then we have Lucas. We see him as an enemy for the first parts of the book – he is a very unsympathetic character when seen from Edwina’s point of view – but there is a great deal of poignancy to his version of events.
Overall this book reminds me of Mary Wesley’s novels. It is a rare thing for an author to be able to depict both age and youth with equal flair – the young can’t quite understand how being old will really feel and the older writers sometimes seem to idealise youth. Jenny Eclair does it really well and I will look forward to reading her earlier books. Add to this the fact that the writing is both moving and, from time to time, laugh out loud funny and I may have found someone to add to my list of favourite authors.