Monday 20 December 2010

Step Closer

Finished December 20
Step Closer by Tessa McWatt
This is a rambling, haunting sort of novel. Emily, a 30ish Canadian woman who is living in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, is trying to write about events that happened five years earlier. In her present, she lives with an American virologist, and works to help him put his ideas and words into Spanish. In her past, she was trying to be a writer, working in a bar, and became involved in a private drama between her roommate and someone from his past. The pilgrim trail plays a role in the earlier story that she is still trying to figure out. By writing about her experiences, about the experiences told to her second-hand by her roommate and by her own imagination, she finds a way to flesh out that story and find an ending to it that makes sense to her.
Her preoccupation with these past events also has her disconnected from her present and she finds herself and her partner growing apart, and can't find a way to reconnect. It is only by coming to grips with the past that she can find a way forward in the present.
While the events definitely are important to the story, the interactions between the characters are the real meat of things here. What are people telling themselves about themselves and about others and what are they hiding from?

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