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Saturday, 28 September 2013

Pierre Szalowski - Fish Change Direction in Cold Weather

Reviewed on recorded bookshow by Ro Bennett in Oct. 2013
This is a gentle, easy, quick read. Just the thing when you want to relax and not tax your brain at all. I was intrigued by the title and this is explained in the book.
 
This is the official blurb:
When his parents split up, and his dad leaves home, a ten-year-old boy begs the sky to help him. The next day an ice storm covers his city. When the power goes out and the temperature drops, people must turn to each other to survive.

But for one neighbourhood the catastrophe brings surprising new beginnings. Julie, the dancer who lives across the street, helps Boris, an eccentric Russian mathematician, save his fish from the cold weather. And the urbane Michel and Simon open their door to Alexis, their embittered neighbour, and his son. But will the ice storm bring the boy's parents back together?

The book, set in Montreal, Canada, starts on Christmas Day 1997 when the protagonist is a 10 years old boy. We never learn his name. He senses there is a tension in his home between his mum and dad which culminates in a row. Fast forward to the beginning of January when we are introduced chapter by chapter to the other characters: Stripper Julie and her unfulfilling one night stands; Boris Bogdanov, a Russian mathematician who is researching the theory that a fish in an aquarium always swims around the same course; then there are bitter, homophobic Alexis and his neglected, disruptive son Alex and finally closeted gay couple Michel and Simon. 

Once the holiday season is over, the boy's parents tell him they are separating and his dad leaves home. He is terribly upset. Later, in his room, he looks out at the sky. He was so small and the sky was so big. He asks the sky to help him. That night, there is worst ice storm that the city has ever seen. The neighbours are thrown together as they struggle to cope with the repercussions of ice and power cuts - but whether or not it will lead to his mum and dad being reunited? You’ll have to read the book. 

It was a light, pleasant book with a feel good factor and I enjoyed it,  perfect to read in between the longer, more weighty novels.

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