REVIEW by Huw Lawrence

NWR Issue 101

The Answer & Other Love Stories

by Rebbecca Ray

‘The Answer’ uses 192 pages, and then follow 61 pages of stories of less power in a different style. These tell of an obese fantasist who invents a pregnancy, a couple setting up house, a man changed by a car accident, a marriage strained by a wife’s sexual fantasies.... OK stories, but there for bulk, one feels, and unnecessarily. The Answer, though short for a novel, is correctly described as such on Rebbecca Ray’s website, and should have been published as such.

The Answer is a work of poetic imagination about alienation, conducting you through intense interior commentaries balanced by distances – like dawn ‘touching Europe and the Mediterranean, glinting from each high and tiny jet plane’. Early workers are ‘coming to take their places at each joint of the infrastructure’, the mechanics of which operate on their own, to the astonishment of Stanley Parsons. His wife dies at home of cancer. Shortly afterwards, his television sets the house on fire...

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