How can someone tell such a mighty story using so few words? That’s the question I asked myself after finishing The Map Of Us by Jules Preston.
There are well over 100 chapters but some are only a couple of paragraphs long. I still felt like I knew the characters as well as if they’d had entire books dedicated to them. And even the shortest chapters, maybe especially the shorter ones, packed a punch.
You really need your wits about you to keep up as the tale spans generations of the same family and broadens out to include others who are all, in some way, linked.
Here’s the blurb:
Violet North is wonderfully inconvenient. Abandoned by her family and lost in an imagined world of moors and adventure, her life changes in the space of just 37 words exchanged with a stranger at her front door.
Decades later, Daniel Bearing has inherited his father’s multi-million pound business, and is utterly lost. He has no idea who he is or where his life is headed.
When Violet’s granddaughter’s marriage falls apart, Tilly, always adept with numbers, compiles a detailed statistical report to pinpoint why. But the Compatibility Index Tilly creates has unforeseen consequences for everyone in her world.
Tilly and Daniel share a secret too. 10.37am, April 22nd.
Soon, a complex web of secrets and lies is exposed and an adventure begins with a blue typewriter…
There’s an energy to this book that almost propels you along. It feels exciting. It feels new, which is no mean feat.
I’ll admit the fact it had a typewriter on the front just like the one I was bought for ninth birthday was the reason I was tempted by this book but, memories aside, it didn’t take long to be completely gripped by this quirky, beautiful and fantastically told story.
It seems to start off small and then bloom. There’s a story within the story, which led to me almost forgetting that it was all fictional and not just some of it.
I can’t seem to find much info about Jules Preston (maybe I’m looking in the wrong place?) but this appears to be his debut, although it feels too accomplished for that. I have certainly put him on my one to watch list.
Price: 99p (via Amazon).
My rating: Five stars.