It Comes by Joy Perino. Saloschin Publishing, £7.99.
A religious fanatic has been abandoned by his family who can no longer deal with his fundamental views. Alone, and left to contemplate his life in his bleak and now empty house, he decides to try to find his family to make amends.
But as he sets out, the very God whom he has now started to question, is working in the background to “help” him.
The man finds his family and discovers that far from floundering without him, they are in fact flourishing. His wife and daughters have set up home and they are happy and contented in a bright new home in a pretty village.
Joy Perino makes a bold uncompromising debut in this very original novel. The 195 pages read quickly but it is not a book that the reader would want to rush or skip through.
In the book we never discover the name of the man or any of his family. We do not find out the name of the village. Or is it a small market town where the family has settled? It could be anywhere from southern France to Tuscany or even a coastal village in Wales.
It is this seeming “vagueness” about the book that makes it all the more intriguing. It might have been easier in many ways for the author to choose names, to fill out the characters of her work, but instead she gives the reader bones to build on.
It does the reader good every once in a while to have to work for themselves to imagine faces, names and places.
The vagueness does not detract from a neat and tight writing style however. Not for one moment could the reader say the author has not made an effort with this book and this shows through carefully chosen language and the vivid description of tangible parts of the man’s life, what he chooses to eat for example. The descriptions of food, often simple fare but hearty and nourishing, are indeed mouth-watering.
The stone shed where the old man is sent to stay when he returns to the family fold is also described but just enough to leave the reader to carry on and imagine the kind of stone shed they would want in their garden or at the back of their own house.
Other clever writing devices emerge in the way that reader can detect that “other forces” (God) are at work in the man’s life but as he blunders through his days, hesitant as to how to proceed, he cannot see this and in his very hour of need it seems as though he almost forgets to turn to the one thing that has seemingly sustained him all his life.
This book is a very promising debut and certainly leaves the reader wanting more. While the story does reach a neat conclusion, one can’t help wondering “What happens next?” Could there be a sequel to this excellent little novel?