Talking About Moving by Jenny Eclair with Chrissi Reads

Published March 17, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Edwina Spinner has lived in the same house for over fifty years. It used to be a busy, crowded family home but now Edwina lives alone and it has grown too big for her. She has decided to sell it.

The young estate agent who comes to value the house sees potential. Knock down a few walls, add a wet room. ‘People like a project.’ But as Edwina takes him from room to room, she is transported back to her old life as a young mother. Back to her first husband Ollie and their twins, James and Rowena. Back to lies and dark secrets and to a stepson whose name Edwina cannot even bear to speak aloud.
As Edwina’s story unravels she is revealed as a complex and intriguing person. Not just the ‘frail old lady’ trapped in her dated house, but a woman who has lived an extraordinary life, full of love and tragedy. Why is she now so alone? What happened to Edwina’s family all those years ago?
Moving – Jenny Eclair’s fourth novel – reveals a writer at the height of her powers. Gripping, heart-breaking and laced with black humour, it is a novel of family secrets, shocking betrayals and most of all, of home.

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: Did you have any preconceptions of the author prior to reading the book? 

BETH: I was certainly curious about her, especially as it described her background as a comedian and I found myself very pleasantly surprised I have to say! I’m not sure what I expected from the novel before going in but what I got by the time I had finished was a story that went much deeper than your average “women’s fiction.” Perhaps I thought it might be a lighter read… I’m not sure, but I’m really glad that the story was grittier and involved much more emotion than expected. It has made me really want to check out her back catalogue of work.

BETH: The story is told from three different perspectives – Edwina, Fern and Lucas. Which part was your favourite to read and why?

CHRISSI: I really enjoyed reading from Edwina’s perspective. I don’t know if it’s because she’s the first character that I read about or whether it’s just because she was a fantastic, intriguing character. I grew to love her very quickly! I do believe that Jenny created some amazing characters. They were flawed but so interesting to read about.

CHRISSI: What were your first impressions after reading the synopsis of Moving?

BETH: Intrigued, for sure. I liked the idea of re-visiting an old woman’s memories by travelling through each of the rooms in a house and I loved Edwina’s part of the novel because of this.  I always like my reads to have a bit more substance in them and the mention of dark secrets and family drama is a nice little hook to spark my attention. I also have to mention that I don’t think the synopsis does justice to the story that lies within this novel!

BETH: Discuss Lucas’s relationship with his mother and how this differs from the relationship he has with his father and step-mother.

CHRISSI:  It was interesting to read about Lucas’s relationship with his mother, it was incrredibly different, but I don’t want to spoil anything. With his step-mother and father, we saw how horrible he could be. He was incredibly bitter and even though he did begin to make amends, he really did put them through the ringer. It was really intriguing to see Lucas’s secrets come to light. We very much see Lucas as a villain, but we slowly begin to realise why.

CHRISSI: Discuss Edwina and the life that she has experienced.

BETH: Edwina is such a fascinating character. She has lived in this particular house for a long time and each room in her house, even ones she doesn’t tend to go into any more seem to be connected with particular memories. She has had two husbands, twin children and a stepson and her family life has seen more than your average share of drama, tension and sadness. I loved that you could see the young woman that she had been in her personality, sense of humour and independence as an older woman and I warmed to her immediately, instantly wanting to know all about her life and what she had been through.

BETH: This novel has been described as “darkly comic.” Did you enjoy the humour within it?

CHRISSI: I did enjoy the humour in this novel. I think we really needed it otherwise it would have been quite a bleak story. I think the humour gave this novel some much needed light-hearted moments which I appreciated.

CHRISSI: The house is a major symbol in the novel. How is the idea of house and home used in the novel?

BETH: The house almost seemed to be a character in itself, especially the part of the novel where we hear from Edwina’s perspective. When the estate agent comes to value her house, she takes him through each room individually (as you do!) and each room has its own chapter with its own particular memory depending on the objects Edwina sees in there, for example. When we come to the other parts, voiced by Fern and Lucas respectively, house and home seem to be somewhat separated. The house seems to fulfil its functional capacity as just a place where you stay, sleep etc in contrast to home being where your family is. The old saying “home is where your heart is,” is probably a very good tag-line describing this novel!

BETH: Would you read another novel by this author?

CHRISSI: Yes. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did!

Would WE recommend it?:

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Yes!

BETH’s star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

CHRISSI’s star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

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