Imagine waking up in a mental hospital not knowing how you got there. This happens to Maggie, who in the early 1960s has a break-down following a chain of heart-breaking events.
Maggie’s story begins when as a young woman she takes a job with a repertory theatre company in Sheffield. It is a wild and stormy night when she goes to a party with madly attractive Jack, an event that will dramatically change her life.
Woven in with Maggie’s story is that of Jonathan, who similarly undergoes several reversals of fortune. In this present day story thread, Jonathan and his wife are expecting their first child, but he can’t bring himself to tell his father. This puts a strain on their marriage, but things get worse when Jonathan’s father dies and a student at the school where he teaches accuses him of assault.
The reader soon realises there is a connection between the two, although it is not until the end of the book that the past makes sense to both Maggie and Jonathan and there is some form of resolution. In the meantime, Susan Elliot Wright creates a rich and compassionate account of these two very different lives.
Although it doesn’t forge a new path in fiction, The Things We Never Said is a stunning debut novel, which will leave you with a lump in your throat.
Posted by JAM
Catalogue Link: The Things We Never Said