To read ‘Meeting Lydia‘ is to sit in a comfy front room with the author, and listen while she tells you the story. Linda MacDonald is a raconteur, an ‘under-the-banyan-tree’, book-at-bedtime story teller, who conjures up complex images through a stream-of-consciousness narrative. Some might say there is more telling than showing, but they would be mistaken in judging this to be a fault. The telling is not exposition, not info-dumping, not tedious scene-setting. The telling is Bridget Jones; it is the internal curiosities, private debates, and mental machinations of the main character, Marianne, as she negotiates a mid-life crisis, the menopause, and a re-emergence of past horrors. If you are intrigued by relationships, by the seismic shifts brought on by the passage of time, or by the impact of early experience on the adult psyche, you will find more than enough here to meet your requirements. And while fiction it may be, the fact is grounded and you can trust the psychology, the insights, and the research. Linda knows her stuff, and it shows.
‘Meeting Lydia‘ is about Marianne’s internet pursuit, via Friends Reunited, of a past relationship. It is the single thread upon which she hangs a thousand-and-one intricate scenes of self discovery; any one of which might be seen as an irrelevant distraction from the plot, but each of which is like one of those tiny shops or galleries you come across unexpectedly while looking for Debenhams. If all you want is a mainstream chain store, this book is not for you. But if what you love best is poking around in unique and idiosyncratically organised one-roomers where the owner can tell you who made everything and the names of their grandchildren, you are very much in luck.
I was afraid of reviewing this book. My best friend is the author, we exchange Kula gifts (look up ‘Trobriand Islanders‘ and fix on yams and necklaces), and I’m pretty certain I’m in there somewhere, although definitely not as Edward. It has turned out to be easy to review because it is structurally competent, refreshingly unburdened by convention, and has no wasted words. It reads like a film, and maybe it should be one. So open up your copy of ‘Meeting Lydia‘, start up the projector in your head, and let Linda tell you a story.
Now out on Kindle via Amazon.
12 thoughts on “‘Meeting Lydia’ by Linda MacDonald”
Sounds very interesting Suzanne, you’ve done a great job at giving us an idea as to what the novel is about. Will check it out one day, adding to my list of books to read, it gets larger by the minute…ack
I know that feeling of the ever-lengthening book list, and now I’m stuffing them into my kindle, the problem is both worse and hidden! I hope you get to look at ‘Lydia’ some time. I don’t know quite what I was expecting, but this isn’t it, although I should have been ready for the quirkiness – I’ve had those sorts of conversations with Linda for years!
I don’t even own a Kindle, which makes the problem worse…ack.
Yeah, I want to check it out, so I will keep it in mind 🙂
Kindles are black holes that never get any heavier but still don’t work well near water!
It sounds like a fantastic read 🙂
It is, and I’m surprised. How embarrassing is that?! I promised Linda that, if I wrote a review, I would be honest, and we were both terrified as a result. Thank goodness she did us proud!
Suzanne, What a wonderful review, and this sounds like a book I would love. Thanks for introducing us to Linda’s work.
I don’t have a Kindle, but I have the Kindle app on my iPhone. Sometimes, that’s more challenging to read a novel that way, but some novels are worth it.
Plus, it makes me feel like a speed-reader 🙂
Deceptive little blighters, those apps! Well, I just checked and ‘Lydia’ is also in print on the US Amazon site http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=meeting+lydia&x=0&y=0 Goodness only knows what you guys will make of it – it’s very English!
I agree, excellent review. It sounds very intriguing!!
Thank you. I think Linda is investing in a pair of dark glasses, or a paper bag, after an interview & photo shoot with a local magazine! Ach, you novellists!