As Filth begins to look back on his life, he becomes anxious to contact old friends and relations and as he contacts these people the story of his life emerges. He relives their times together, tries to make amends and sees events in a new light. There are many surprises before Filth comes to terms with his life and widowhood. It’s a gentle book, full of humour and heartbreak.
The Photograph was the first book I read this year and I raced through it eager to find out why Kath was holding hands with a man who wasn’t her husband, Glyn. After her death, Glyn comes across a photograph taken many years before of Kath and an unknown man. The photograph was inside an envelope on which Kath had written DON’T OPEN – DESTROY.
Glyn, a TV history researcher, infuriated by the photograph and the discovery of her involvement with this unknown man sets out to discover who he is. He becomes obsessed with his search as it becomes obvious how little he knew about Kath and her life.
I have always found Penelope Lively’s books full of interest, easily readable, peopled with believable characters and this one is one of her best. It’s about relationships, love and fidelity, grief and loss and the power of memory, all topics that for me made this book compelling reading.