Friday, September 17, 2010

The News Where You Are - Catherine O'Flynn

I really enjoyed Catherine O'Flynn's debut novel What Was Lost (my review) and was looking forward to her second - The News Where You Are.

Frank is a television news presenter. Viewers enjoy him, but it is the bad puns and jokes (penned by odd duck Cyril - inherited from former presenter and star Phil) that are the appeal for many of the viewers. He lives in a house that he's having trouble selling as it's removed from everything. He loves his wife Andrea who loves him just as much. They have a young daughter Mo who is a breath of fresh air with her sunny view and outlook. Frank's mother Maureen lives in a Seniors development and can only seem to see the worst in everything. Frank questions the verdict of accidental death in Phil's case and does some investigating on his own.

Back cover blurbs include the phrases 'brilliantly funny and heartbreakingly sad and spirited literary mystery". I must say I really didn't find the book funny at all. I did find sadness though. Frank is a multi leveled character. By turns he seems lost, but he's a fantastic father, devoted son and faithful friend. Yet is all seems to be done with a sense of obligation. Frank's father was an architect and the demolition of many of his buildings seems to be an allegory for the breaking down of many barriers in Frank's life, past and present. O'Flynn uses architecture and descriptions of same to mirror many characters' moods and feelings.

The character of Mo stole the show for this reader. Her determined attempts to cheer up her grandmother, her vibrant imagination and her love of life and everything in it were a high point for me.

The 'spirited mystery' wasn't there for this reader. The mystery surrounding Phil's death certainly is an impetus in Frank rediscovering his life but did not fit the 'mystery' tag for me.

O'Flynn has a way with words and many of her scenarios and descriptions are quite eloquent in their simplicity. But the novel moved along quite slowly in the first half for me - the second half was less meandering. I wanted to love this book as much as I did her first one, but for me it was just an okay read.


bermudaonion said...

Hm, I'll probably skip this one and try her first one when I get a chance. Thanks for a great review.

Anonymous said...

I have yet to read Catherine O'Flynn, but I was intrigued by this book. Thanks for the honest review :)

Mystica said...

Thank you for a nice review.