David Carter grows up happy in post-WWII Coventry, England, where he combs bomb sites for things to collect and dreams of one day running his own museum. He lands a job at a local museum and, at age 22, learns from a mentally ill family friend that he was adopted as an infant. Irate and bewildered, David struggles to comprehend "how such a lie had been incorporated into official history" as he begins his adult life. His marriage to Eleanor provides some direction, but the couple is often rudderless, and McGregor (If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things) charts with a calculated dreariness David's frustrated attempts to locate his birth mother, Eleanor's terrible depressions, their professional letdowns, a few moments of happiness and the way "it wasn't what they'd imagined, this life." Once retired, David is introduced to the Internet, which yields a promising lead in his quest to find his birth mother. Melancholy permeates every page; readers looking for an earnest downer can't go wrong. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
As in his award-winning debut novel, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (2003), McGregor's follow-up work is a celebration of an ordinary life. Each chapter carries a heading, much like a description in a museum catalog, of a relic, such as a tobacco tin or a pair of children's striped gloves. These items hold personal meaning for the novel's central character, David Carter, acting both as a reflection of his lifelong interest in collecting artifacts and as prompts for a series of nonchronological memories. The novel gradually builds an intimate portrait of his childhood; his long marriage to Eleanor, who suffers from a debilitating depression and is estranged from her family; and the small triumphs and dissatisfactions of his career as a museum curator. The defining moment comes when, at age 22, David accidentally learns that he was adopted and sets out to find his biological mother. The search for home and for connection lies at the center of this slow, cadenced novel, which invests one man's day-to-day life with remarkable dignity. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.