Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Book Review: Being Light by Helen Smith

Book: Being Light by Helen Smith, 2010 by Tyger Books, 228 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Roy Travers is swept away by a freak gust of wind while trying to install a bouncy castle in Brockwell Park, south London. Sheila, his wife, can't understand why he hasn t found his way back home. She begins to suspect that Roy has been abducted by aliens and enlists the help of Mrs Fitzgerald's Bureau of Investigation to find him. Sheila travels to Kent with Alison, a private detective. Together they build a missing persons advertisement out of pebbles on a beach, hoping it will be seen by the aliens who have taken Roy. But Roy was not taken by aliens. The truth is far stranger. 'Smith has a keen eye for material details, but her prose is lucid and uncluttered by heavy description. Imagine a satire on Cool Britannia made by the Coen Brothers... very funny.' Times Literary Supplement

My Thoughts:
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but found myself racing through it. It is very different from other books that I've read and I love the freshness of that.

There is the quirky story line of Roy flying away in a bouncy castle and never being heard from again, and his poor, very distraught wife who is convinced that he must have been abducted by aliens because otherwise he would have returned to her. Then there are also several other story lines, everything from an animal trainer being investigated for mistreating animals to a young man in a dress on a mission to stop the pollution in London to a reporter looking for fresh new features to a mother of a young girl... 

In fact, that is one of my only criticisms of the book: there are so many characters that sometimes I did find myself getting confused. However, the voices of the characters are strong, so it did not take me long to figure out.

I love how Smith looks at all of these characters and gives them all substance and background in such a short time. I enjoy her eye for detail. She has a way of putting together seemingly unrelated story lines and characters in a fun, fresh way, one that leaves us on the edge of our seats. 

And, without giving anything away, I like how Smith dealt with the ending. Though I would have enjoyed knowing what happened next, I thought what she did was good. My imagination can come up with some great things.

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