Waiting for the Flood, Alexis Hall
Waiting for the Flood, Alexis Hall
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I hadn’t realised this was a short read, just 95 pages, but I enjoyed it anyway. I do prefer longer reads, but shorter ones like this work for me when they’re like a moment of time, a snippet, not trying to cram a whole book full of plots into a short read.
Poor Edwin, I s-s-s-so felt for him. Heartbroken from losing his lover Marius, he’s withdrawn. With his speech problems its not easy to approach people, and after trying a club and seeing Marius there enjoying himself he just seems to have given up. Yet he’s only in his early thirties and so really Marius is so much of his life to try to get past, but he’s too young to waste it alone. His neighbour, the fabulous Mrs P, ( oh I hope if I live that long I’m like her!) tells him as much. She’s been there as a shoulder to cry on as he doesn’t seem to have family or friends that will support him, and she tells him its time to look forwards not backwards. He’s really sweet with her, and it shows just what a caring, protective person he is, and yet his confidence has taken a severe knock, not that he was hugely self confident before. Then Adam enters his life. He’s such a contrast, where Edwin is quite and hides himself Adam seems huge – just seems to fill whatever space he’s in, but in a comfortable way, not a dominating bullying way. He’s so helpful to everyone, yes its his job but he seems to take it on a personal level, and he’s in there heaping sandbags, wading through water, doing the dirty jobs, and he sees Edwin and something in him pings. I love the banter they have, the way he can just wait patiently for Edwin to speak without making him uncomfortable, the sensuality that we can feel between them – its magic when it comes together like it has here. That’s one of the parts I love most in book, that magic moment of realisation – yes he/she does like me…
This book works for me as its like a beginning of a novel, the spark where they first meet and the characters are just so wonderful. they feel real, the dialogue is pithy at times, witty at others and also elements of just mundane everyday things. I loved the little inside murmurings of Edwin that we saw, where he’s annoyed that a letter which has been fine is suddenly playing tricks with him. Stammering is just such a difficult condition, people automatically want to jump in, rather than wait and it must make the stammerer feel so conscious. Its too often seen as a lack of intelligence too – that must be really irritating to be treated as if you’re thick, have someone talk over you etc. In my old life working I once interviewed a lovely man who had a terrible stammer, really, really bad, and it was so difficult to get the balance right, to try not to make him feel pressured. Interviews are tough anyway and to have such a difficulty in speaking when you need to show your best side must be really hard. In the usual interview time we’d really only covered the very basics because he was having such difficulty speaking. Sadly I couldn’t give him the job. I knew the other staff – not under my jurisdiction – would make his work difficult, and just not take notice of him as a supervisor – there were better candidates, though I really wished I could have taken him on, he’d tried so hard.
Edwin – I so felt for him, he’s someone who deserves love, who needs another person. Some people can go through life alone but I felt he needed someone, needed to be wanted, and I was so upset when it all seemed to go wrong between him and Adam. I wanted to say “Edwin, what are you doing??” but he was telling himself that anyway…poor man. Thankfully there’s an upside too or I’d have been devastated for him – a book character I know, but good ones feel real to me and I want them to have a HEA!!
Stars: Five, it’s a lovely bittersweet at times story that I really enjoyed, despite my usual dislike of shorts…
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.