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A Crying Shame

by Renate Dorrestein

A book that generates quite mixed up feelings - on one hand it's slightly dark and sinister, with things going on in the background that you never really find out, but are only hinted as part of the plot. On the other hand, the relationship between elderly Agnes and the children is extremely comfortable, safe and whimsical - a relationship based on one she had in the past. A satisfying read, but one with a surpringly callous ending!

Extract

Agnes wants to tell her that there is no question of selling. The words are on the tip of her tongue, curt, blunt. But Mrs Flynt seems to realise that she's chosen the wrong moment. Hurriedly, and a bit too jauntily, she says 'But first you're going to have a wonderful holiday. Here's your key. I hope that everything is in order over there. Which of the bairns did you bring this year?' She peers past the fuchsias and the honeysuckle at Agnes' car on the drive. 'Have they been before? I dinnae ken them, do I?' Astonished, Agnes follows her gaze and turns round. There are two children sitting in the back seat of her VW, a little boy and girl.
Translated by Hester Velmans

Parallels

Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler
A Sensible Life by Mary Wesley
 

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