The new novel from the acclaimed author of Birds Without Wings and Captain Corelli's Mandolin is a love story at once raw and sweetly funny, wry and heartbreakingly sad.
Chris is bored, lonely, trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage. In his forties, he's a stranger to the 1970s youth culture of London, a stranger to himself on the night he invites a hooker into his car.
Roza is Yugoslavian, recently moved to London, the daughter of one of Tito's partisans. She's in her twenties, but has already lived a life filled with danger, misadventure, romance, and tragedy. And though she's not a hooker, when she's propositioned by Chris, she gets into his car anyway.
Over the next few months Roza tells Chris the stories of her past. She's a fast-talking Scheherazade, saving her own life by telling it to Chris. And he takes in her tales as if they were oxygen in an otherwise airless world. But is Roza telling the truth? Does Chris hear the stories through the filter of his own need? Does it even matter?
This deeply moving novel of their unlikely love - narrated in the moment and through recollection, each of their voices deftly realised - is also a brilliantly subtle commentary on storytelling: its seductions and powers, and its ultimately unavoidable dangers.
Condition: Very Good
Goodreads rating: 3.18/5