Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Over , a novel by Margaret Forster

Publishers blurb says that it is a novel that" pushes into the heart of grief".At first , I too thought so .Yes , it is about  love , loss ,grief and pain .But slowly , it grew on me .It starts with grief but that is only one  thread .It is  more about alienation .It is about what  happens  when you expect warmth and kindness from some one close to you( when you  confront the death of someone you love) and  the other one does not come any where near that expectation ."He  didn't take me in his arms first, he didn't present this appaling news any better than his sister had done .From the very minute he heard  he separated himself.We were never together."
                    Happy  memories  continue to bind people but memories don't stretch into future.Is it really necessary to go to the roots of what happened?Does   finding  the truth why the death or loss took place become more important than kindness? " Ï felt angry with Don.He has become so arrogant in his despair and misery, he really thinks  he has been marked out  for suffering  far more than any one else and that this entitles him to receive, but not give , sympathy."
      When alienation begins , phone calls are replaced by emails , and then emails by occassional texts  and then it begins to near the end . You don't  even feel guilty about enjoying yourself.Alienation does bring the feeling of loss of romance and sex but you ignore it.Concern becomes a luxury you can afford." Don was in hospital.Slowly ., on the long drive to hospital, I had begun to feel anxious and troubled about Don and what might have happened , but there was certain luxury about my concern.I could  afford it .This was awful to admit, but I didn't have to admit it to anyone but myself.

            You begin to feel jealous about how affectionate your children are towards the other ."  I had a feeling of alarm:Don had found her,Don would keep her.She would not find a telephone and ring me."He can't be completely out of my life but I don't want him at the centre.
                   It is one of the benefits we bereaved bestow on other people-we make them feel lucky .Alienation is as much painful as grief , if not more.
                                 The book ends with a hope in spite of despair:"I have recovered a little , I will recover more."
 I liked the  novel for its profound  and powerful expression of death , loss , grief , alienation and flickers of hope .