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The City Of Invention

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

Superior Chick-lit

Bitter Sweet Symphony - Shyama Perera

This story of a middle class, middle-aged woman whose husband walks out of their marriage one day without warning starts of brilliantly. It's witty, poignant, cleverly structured and feels incredibly real. Unfortunately, it doesn't live up to its promise.

Throughout the book the dialogue stays sharp but that's always the best part of the writing. Characterisation and setting are flimsy and plot nearly non-existent. About half way through I realised that I couldn't remember who everybody was. All the characters just seemed to be names and all they ever did was wander around Soho, drinking a lot of alcohol and ranting about men.

It's a shame because this is nearly a terrific novel but it feels too much like its based on the author's own experience. If she'd invented more there might have been some events to provide a relief from all the conversations about how women are always left to clear up the mess. It's superior chick-lit but it could have been so much more.