14 July, 2012

Night Waking by Sarah Moss

I have just finished reading Sarah Moss' "Night Waking" and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's very well written, very funny and there's a lot of material in there that I can empathise with.

The basic plot involves an academic couple with two young children who are spending several months on a remote island off the coast of Scotland so that the husband of the couple can pursue his research into puffins. His historian wife, meanwhile, is struggling to complete her book on the history of childhood while looking after her two children pretty much single handedly.

The book covers some serious questions such as the challenge of combining career and motherhood, the role of a father in the care of his children, and the strain that these kinds of issues can put on a relationship. The seriousness is tempered with lots of humour, though -- the seemingly unendless stream of letters arriving from the Child Tax Credit people, the complete irrationality of small children, the culinary disasters that can arise from trying to prepare a meal out of the remnants lingering in a near-empty larder... The peculiarities of family life, in short.

If you have kids I'm sure you'll recognise many of the scenarios painted by Moss -- and enjoy reading the book too, I imagine.

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