Quarter Past Two on a Wednesday Afternoon by Linda Newbery

quarter-past-two-on-a-wednesday-afternoon

I found it hard to sympathize with Anna. There seems to be this underlying selfish narcissistic personality trait, which seems to influence a lot of her decisions. It isn’t so much the fact that she isn’t sure or she wants change, it is more about I want and I want it now. In that respect she resembles Rosa, although it doesn’t become evident till a lot later in the story.

This is especially apparent in her relationship, interactions and conversations with Ruth. When the oldest son returns home to find Goldilocks sleeping in his bed and eating his porridge, Anna looks to Ruth as if to say now what shall we do?

What one earth does she think Ruth should do?

First of all there is no ‘we’ where Ruth and Anna are concerned they’re not a couple. Anna is the intruder and Patrick is simply returning home. There is no question of what needs to happen next.

To me it seemed as if Ruth at some point in time became an excellent substitute for Rosa or at least Anna perceives her that way subconsciously. The level of intimacy, the natural assumption Ruth will drop everything at once for Anna. The almost inappropriate and highly unusual relationship they have, despite Ruth being the ex to Anna’s boyfriend and the mother of his son.

By inappropriate I mean Anna making Ruth more important than her current boyfriend. Not that ex’s and new partners can’t be friends, in this it is more about Anna not understanding the boundaries she is clearly overstepping. Wrapped in her bubble of me there is little space for others.

Simultaneously the reader learns about Sandra, mother to Rosa and Anna, and the tragedy that shaped her past and future. Proving that secrets are like weights tied to the bottom of our boats sailing across the unpredictable waters of life. The kind of secret than can cause implosions and the destruction of family units.

One of the more important sub-plots threaded through the story of the people left behind after a loved one has gone missing. Obviously the actual missing person gets all the attention, and leaving aside the tragedy connected to a scenario of this sort or possible fates of the missing persons, this focuses on their loved ones.

The not knowing, the constant fear, the images of possible pain being inflicted upon the missing person, but in the end the just not knowing what happened to them causes inexplicable grief.

This story is about the aftermath of such an event and way it shapes each day for those left behind from that day forward.

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.

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