Jumping the Queue Paperback – Jul 25 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Late-bloomer Wesley published this first novel in Britain at the age of 70a fact that explains the breadth of experience reflected here. As a practical decision, Matilda Poliport, middle-aged and recently widowed, is preparing at the story's outset to commit suicide before the trials of old age can beset her. But she is temporarily thwarted by an encounter with a highly publicized gentleman murderer on the runa matricide, in fact. Matilda whimsically decides to shelter the otherwise sympathetic killer for a few days and agrees to abet his escape to the Continent. Within their brief, strangers-on-a-train-like intimacy, Matilda talks frankly about her life, while the matricide remains strangely silent about his odious crime. However, what the reader learns about Matilda is far more than she admits to herself. Wesley leaves us wondering about the limits of human knowing and what anyone can ever finally determine about either the past or one's true motivations. Reality in this contemporary novel remains an open system. The rub is that Matilda, on the one hand, is remarkably self-aware but, on the other, not only self-deluding but also the victim of a reductive imagination, outright lies and withheld or fragmentary informationpitfalls, the novel suggests, that await the reader of this or any other narrative, be it fiction or so-called fact. The novel is delivered in a bright, sparkling style, full of witty asides on the fatuity of modern culture and mores, all the better to underscore its dark themes.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
"I loved it for its extraordinary combination of despair and wild black humour" -- Julia Blackburn "Great verve and inventiveness" Times Literary Supplement "A virtuoso performance of guileful plotting, deft characterisation and malicious wit" The Times "Quriky, sexy and deeply fascinating" -- Sheila HancockSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Matilda Poliport is a relatively new widow, three years. Mid fifties with white hair, attractive and younger looking than she appears. Matilda is tired, tired of her life, her husband has died, her children don't visit much, her dog died, and all she has left is a gander, Gus. She plans to end her life, she cleans her home from top to bottom,puts her best sheets on the beds, writes a good-bye, lists her assets and where they should go. She is ready. But then, fate steps in, and her plans go awry.
Matilda decides to wait another month and then complete her plans. While on a stroll by the sea, she stops a young man from jumping in. Ironic? This man known as The Matricide, has killed his mother. She takes him in, settling him in her home. They develop a relationship and disclose their inner most secrets, but not all of them. After all, what do either them have to lose? We hear about Matilda's children and she lets us know she finds animals much easier to love. Hgh, the Matricide,we discover, is a pleasant young man with his own devils. Matilda's neighbors, her friends in London, her children and finally her husband, are all part and parcel of the end of the world for Matilda. She seems more settled now, but, then, there are many twists and turns.
I found this novel to be quite provocative and certainly one that gave me a great deal to think about. Mary Wesley may have had these same feelings. growing old is not for the faint of heart. This is a novel surprising in it's honesty and a stickler for detail. I could see the cottage, the town and Matilda in my mind's eye. Matilda was an irritation at times, but I did like her so! This was Mary Wesley's first novel, and off she went!
Highly Recommended. prisrob 06-02-13