The telling is the second installment of Rose Mary Boehm first novel "Coming Up for Air". In THE TELLING we find out how the life of the main character unfolds after her WWII childhood. This new novel is a life in retrospect with twists and turns the reader NEVER sees coming. It is one of those novels that you simply cannot put down and the story continues to haunt your brain. It is a study of how life can never be planned and definitely a MUST read!Vic Heaney "VH"
This book can clearly be read as a stand-alone or as a sequel to Rose Mary Boehm's book "Coming Up For Air".
I have already read the earlier book so the first surprise to hit me in the first chapter of "The Telling" is that Anne Marie Becker is not this time the narrator. That honour falls to a young journalist who meets her under the shadow of the Icelandic ash cloud and who is the medium through which Anne Marie's further story is told to us.
In fact the book is told through two viewpoints, that of the young journalist, who writes in the third person as "Aybee" tells her story, bit by bit: and, in alternate chapters, a narrator's-eye view of events as they unfolded, each chapter being in a subsequent time-frame to the last: it works.
This is a fascinating tale of the life of a young woman cut off from her roots, far from her origins but making her home in one part of the world after another, facing life's blows with fortitude, determined to be herself and to live with the consequences of decisions made - despite frequent doubts as to the wisdom of those decisions.
Some of the things which happen to her are quite shocking. Yet she becomes the wise and forthright older woman whose present day personage we become familiar with at the same time as we get to know her younger self.
The ending is sad but happy, especially if you understand or go along with Aybee's beliefs.
Rose Boehm writes with intelligence and flair. Her command of the language is astonishing for somebody who does not have English as her native tongue. I can not imagine getting to grips with any language well enough to be able to write well in it.
I loved this book. I seem to remember when I started to read Rose Mary's first book that this was supposed to be a trilogy. If so I am now waiting eagerly for the third book, although I can see nowhere for the story to go after the denouement of this one.