What Da Cover Says: Once upon a time that doesn’t make a blind bit of sense, in a place that seems awfully familiar but definitely doesn’t exist, Willem Seiler’s obsession with measuring his world—with wrapping it up in his beloved string to keep the madness out—wreaks havoc on the Wakeling family.
Noranbole Wakeling lives in the scrub and toil of the pantry, in the ashes of the cold hearth—which, come to think of it, also sounds pretty familiar…She lives, too, in the shadow of her much wooed and cosseted sister, worshipped by the madman Seiler but overlooked by everyone else.
And that, it turns out, is a good thing.
As lives are lost to Seiler’s vanity, the inattention spares her. She spots her chance to break free of the fetters that tie her to Tiny Village—and bolts.
But some cords are never really cut. In her absence, the unravelling of the world she has escaped is complete. Another madness—her mother’s—reaches out to entangle her newfound Big City freedom. The unpicked quilt-work of a life in ruins threatens to ruin her own. It will be up to Noranbole to stitch it all together, into something she can call true.
What I Says: This book is totally Wacker-doodle-dandy to the max! I love a good absurd novel and this is a mighty fine addition to the genre. Yes it does feel like the author is using the luck of dice to create the plot and there is no way of guessing what is going on until you get told but at it’s heart is a wonderful story full of love and heartbreak, exploring the everyday fears that people experience…not the silly ones about spiders…fear brought on by the birth of a child and making sure they get the right life, of being out of your depth and whether or not you’ll be the next world champion burger flipper. At least that is my interpretation and like any great piece of art there are so many different ways of seeing this story.
The book follows the four main characters; Mr Seiler, obsessed with measuring everything with string, he can even measure the length of winter, this is until he becomes obsessed with measuring the depth of a lake. Next up is Noranbole, she has her own Cinderella story, from doing her chores to working in The Big City. Then Noranbole and Urine’s mother, Emma Wakeling, tells us about each of her husbands interspersed with chapters describing the house and family life. The book is concluded with Urine’s story which gives you a cracking finale.
Noranbole’s story was my favourite part of the book, the satire surrounding The Big City and the Giant company that she works with was very clever, I got the feeling that I was reading a new book by Vonnegut for a while.
This will most definitely be re-read by me in the future, give it a couple of years and I’ll be spotting new things I missed first time around. A fine novel well worth reading.
Check out the book HERE: