Tuesday 8 August 2017

Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks

Thirty-two-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can't remember everything. She can't remember her ninth year. She can't remember when her insomnia started. And she can't remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria.
With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the devastating deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges... and changes everything.
Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defences we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide...

Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech is published by Orenda Books as an ebook on 15 August and in paperback on 30 September 2017 and is the author's third novel. I've read and reviewed her previous novels; How To Be Brave (September 2015) and The Mountain in My Shoe (October 2106).

Maria in the Moon is the third book by Louise Beech to be published by Orenda Books, and just like her first two, this is a beautifully tender novel that will touch the heart and soul of every reader.
Set just after the floods that devastated parts of the city of Hull in 2007, this is Catherine’s story. It’s the story of her now and her then, it’s a story with slowly emerging parts that are gently revealed to change memories and alter perceptions.

Catherine’s life seems directionless; her boyfriend is gone; her home is uninhabitable due to the flood water that invaded it and her family life is difficult. Her relationships are unsteady, it’s almost as though Catherine is afraid to love, or be loved. After all, one of her most-used phrases is, ‘it’s not love unless it hurts.’ Aunty Mary has been the one constant in her life; always there in the background with her hairy chin and her abundance of love. She was there when Catherine’s Mum died and when her Dad re-married, and then again when, aged eight, her beloved Dad died too.
Aunty Mary’s recent diagnosis, coupled with the floods and her decision to take on a role as a volunteer at the Flood Crisis centre seem to have had a defining effect on Catherine.  Hidden memories creep into the corners or her mind, and into her dreams; haunting her and taunting her like a relentless pain that can’t be soothed.

Louise Beech’s writing is so very powerful, she evokes every emotion in her readers. Yet, despite the heart-break and damage that Catherine and her family suffer, this author injects her own style of true Northern grit and humour which is subtly and cleverly interwoven throughout the story. Catherine is not a whimsical, fanciful character; she’s modern, down-to-earth and, as we say here in the North, a bit of a mardy mare. Her relationship and interactions with her Mother are a joy to read; strangely familiar to me, and I guess, to many others.

Catherine’s experiences as a volunteer at the Flood Crisis centre are stunningly realistic and it is clear that the author draws on experience as she describes the banter that covers up the tension of waiting to answer the next call.

As Catherine’s long-repressed memories begin to re-appear, Louise Beech has very cleverly compared and contrasted the immense effects that both man-made terror and the horrors of nature can wreak on people, relationships and whole communities.

Maria In The Moon deals with dark issues that are uncomfortable, but necessary. This is superb writing; a story that will stay with me for a long time and is extraordinarily written and presented. There are moments of unexpected beauty from richly complicated characters. It really is quite spellbinding. 

Louise Beech remembers sitting in her father's cross-legged lap while he tried to show her his guitar's chords. He's a musician. Her small fingers stumbled and gave up. She was three. His music sheets fascinated her - such strange language that translated into music. Her mother teaches languages, French and English, so her fluency with words fired Louise's interest. She knew from being small that she wanted to write, to create, to make magic. 

She loves all forms of writing. Her short stories have won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting twice for the Bridport Prize and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Her first play, Afloat, was performed at Hull Truck Theatre in 2012. She also wrote a ten-year newspaper column for the Hull Daily Mail about being a parent, garnering love/hate criticism. Her debut novel was a Guardian Readers' pick for 2015. 

She is inspired by life, history, survival and love, and always has a story in her head. Her debut novel, How to be Brave, came from truth - when Louise's daughter got Type 1 Diabetes she helped her cope by sharing her grandad's real life sea survival story. Her second novel, The Mountain in my Shoe, will be released in September 2016 and was inspired by her time working with children in the care system.

When she was fifteen Louise bet her mother ten pounds she'd be published by the time she was thirty. She missed this self-set deadline by two months. Her mother is still waiting for the money.

Find out more at - http://louisebeech.co.uk/
Follow on Twitter at @LouiseWriter

Orenda Books website - www.orendabooks.co.uk
Follow Orenda on Twitter @OrendaBooks

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I cannot wait to read this! Sounds amazing and beautiful! Gorgeous review Anne!