My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Eliza has a fairly typical marriage with Andrew. He is the absent minded mathematician and she is the never ceasing mother of two, housekeeper and successful business owner. So often her week was taking up with thinking about everyone else that she was left with two sacred mornings a week in which she went to the local community centre and swam in the small pool, a way of reminding herself of life and a time long past.
It is here at the community centre that Eliza meets Shar, a woman who is to have a profound impact on her steady life. Shar opens up a part of Eliza like an exotic perfumes flower, bringing a part of Eliza to life that she had suppressed for years.
Eliza is easy to identify with. The same treadmill of duty and responsibility will be familiar to many people. The predicament and the choices she made might not always seem correct, but the under current of the flow is instantly knowable. The prose is fragile as a bloom fully open to the elements, but is strong and in your face like the fragrance of lilac on a summer evening. Shar is that elusive thing, the free spirit with nothing tying her down. The relationship between Eliza and Shar is visceral and all consuming.
Strangely there is nothing delicate about this book. It is raw and it is extraordinarily explicit. It takes the reader through a journey that ends with a slap to the face, leaving you wanting more and being left unsatisfied in a very pleasurable way.