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The City Of Invention

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

Open House

Open House - Elizabeth Berg This is a novel about a woman who is forced to recreate her life after her husband leaves her. Until his desertion she's been a contented housewife and mother to her eleven year old son. Now she has to learn to stand on her own two feet, get a job and take in lodgers to survive.

In a style that is reminiscent of Anne Tyler, Elizabeth Berg forensically examines the distress of a woman whose 'sin' is that she was content with home-making in a world that no longer values such a lifestyle.

There are some very moving scenes in here, like the time when she tries to win her husband back through sex, and fails. Written with unflinching realism, the description is almost too painful to read.

In places, however, I felt that the characterisation was a little close to caricature and the author does tend to stray into sentimentality at times. Nevertheless, overall I found this to be a funny, powerful and life-affirming book.