Exquisitely honest and perceptive
Reviewed September 2019, by CR
This is a book about four young women, three of them friends, and their interlinked relationships with a number of young men. One of the men is thoroughly unpleasant. Another waits patiently in the background, quietly yearning. And there’s a strange outsider who disturbs the equilibrium for all of the women and finds himself – without malice – being all things to all of them. Thus far, thus ‘chic-lit’, but there is nothing ‘chic-lit’ about this delicate dark book. It’s a disciplined, forensic exploration of human relationships. It exposes – sometimes with a surgical ruthlessness – the lies and the self-deceptions and the occasional triumphs that surround the search for intimacy, sexual satisfaction, friendship, love. There is little solid ground in this book: Luna Miller circles the narrative from different perspectives, repeatedly revealing how the same events mean very different things – sometimes dangerously different things – to the different players. There is nothing ‘gratuitously dark’ in this book: indeed it carries the reader forward with its acknowledgment of loyalty, friendship, good intentions, decency. Yet there were moments in the writing, particularly in its excruciatingly clear-eyed portrayal of a needy vulnerable woman’s submission to an abusive man, which went straight to my nerves, and I wanted to look away, to be let off the hook – above all, not to have to find any of it familiar. Luna Miller’s deft storytelling allowed no such easy self-deception. I found myself identifying with all of the characters, and recognising their frailties and betrayals as my own, from the intriguing beginning of this story to its quiet ambivalent end.