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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

A Study In Compromise And Its Consequences

A Stone's Throw - Fiona Shaw

Quietly powerful, A Stone's Throw is a study in compromise and its consequences. In evocative and delicately-crafted prose Fiona Shaw traces a pattern of emotional damage that spans three generations of one family.

The first part of the novel focuses on Meg Bryan, a young woman whose childhood is overshadowed by the disappearance of her father and younger brother. As World War two breaks out Meg emigrates to South Africa to marry a man she does not love. On the journey a fleeting, passionate affair with a soldier makes her understand how much she has lost.

The second part focuses on Meg's son, Will, whose life is blighted by the death of his first lover in a freak accident for which he feels responsible. Like his mother, Will makes a marriage of convenience and spends the rest of his life paying the price.

What this novel does particularly well is illuminate with compassion and honesty the struggle of individuals rendered emotionally inarticulate by the long term effects of grief.