The International Writers Magazine
:Book Review

A World Apart by Caro Fraser
Penguin Paperback Original
ISBN 0-718-14728-6 - Pub Feb 23rd 2006
Marcel D'Agneau review

It's the plain truth but I cannot actually believe that Caro Fraser has a writing career at all, let alone has actually published ten novels.

A World Apart is trite, mundane and poorly written with a plodding obvious storyline so pitted with a Chick Lit haze it is a tough assignment to get through just one chapter of this story.

At core it is about a man, Mark Mason who, although successful as a businessman in compactors in going through the whole male menopause thing at 43 and pondering the meaning of life. Yawn. His wife is 'busy' having started up a couple of retail clothing outlets and has no time for him and he is tempted by the new blonde, Nicky, he has hired for the London sales office. More than tempted. It leads to the inevitable life crash as he is discovered, his wife boots him out and he runs to his little love nest to hide out from reality and find himself. In the process he seems to have walked away from his kids, business and actually is tempted by the idea of becoming a poet.

Caro Fraser may well be married but she cannot get into the mind of a man. Her dialogue is tortured and every page is laden with bathos and her Mark is such a bloody wuss, you just want to kick him. The women are all saints, everyone of them and hardly even sleep around, unless it's for money. Mark doesn't seem to have much luck with them, although for some reason they buzz around him like flies. As a rule women generally do not buzz around men his age, who have just walked away from a hundred grand a year lifestyle, especially ones who want to surrender to the muse and the booze.

This kind of book might have meant something in 1950 or thereabouts and even then Saturday Night and Sunday Morning would have kicked it out of bed and thrown it on the fire to keep warm. Mark has no passion, is nothing but a cipher, is no more than the businessman he was meant to be and OK he's going to find that out, but this is an empty cupboard of a novel. He has neither the courage or the spine to be anything other than he is and there is no reward for the reader as her main characrter does not grow. Little in this book is worth leaning from, no heartwarming passionate relationships, nothing to set a heart on fire or a pulse racing.

On the other hand if you have trouble sleeping, this will get you off in no time at all.
Read at your peril.

© Marcel D'Agneau Feb 2006

Marcel was once a writer but now sells antiquities in Cornwall to innocent strangers.

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