By Gemma Reeves
Published by Allen and Unwin
What it’s about?
Mona and Wolfie have lived on Victoria Park for over fifty years. Now, on the eve of their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary, they must decide how to navigate Mona’s declining health.
Bookended by the touching exploration of their love, Victoria Park follows the disparate lives of twelve people over the course of a single year.
Told from their multiple perspectives in episodes which capture feelings of alienation and connection, the lingering memory of an acid attack in the park sends ripples of unease through the community. By the end of the novel, their carefully interwoven tales create a rich tapestry of resilience, love and loss.
What I think:
This is a glorious and beautifully written novel.
The story begins in October and each chapter focuses on a different story of the residents of Victoria Park.
Despite the modern London setting and unrelated characters there is still a sense of interconnectedness and community. People pass through each others lives and characters from one story are in either background of other chapters.
The individual stories explore whatvit is that makes us human. Relationships in all different forms: long marriages, infidelity, teachers and students, friends, mentors, lovers. They experience happiness, disappointment, fear and remorse.
These are normal people living normal lives. And Reeves has really captured the beauty in the everyday.
Her writing is so evocative and poignant. Her characters leap off the page and will make you smile amd break you heart.
I am still thinking about Mona and Wolfie.
This is a stunning book and I honestly think that less than two weeks into 2021 i have found one of my favourite reads of the year.
About the author:
Gemma Reeves is a writer and teacher who lives and works in London.
Praise for Victoria Park
Praise for Victoria Park:
‘Hugely empathetic, utterly absorbing and beautifully told, Victoria Park really captures something so bittersweet and so true about the struggles and joys that ebb and flow through all of the relationships that hold us together.’ Naomi Ishiguro
‘A writer who exudes a generous playful intelligence, such bright, wise wit. Everything on the page is alive, each paragraph a fresh adventure – her writing gives a pure and rare pleasure.’ Samantha Harvey, bestselling author of The Western Wind
‘I absolutely loved Victoria Park. It’s a stunning portrayal of a London community, where moments of heartbreak, sympathy and joy cast deep reverberations. A triumph of compassion and redemption, the lives of the characters are so finely observed, they might be our own. It reminded me of Elizabeth Strout and Jennifer Egan, and I know I’ll be thinking about Wolfie and Mona for months to come.’ Elizabeth Macneal, author of The Doll Factory
Thank you to Gemma Reeves and Allen nd Unwin for the gifted proof copy and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of such a wonderful blog tour.