When the garrulous and slightly annoying Gloria stops eating, sleeping, and talking, her recently-made-redundant salesman husband Bernard does not know what to do. Their decades-long marriage has produced a son, ex-daughter-in-law, and a beautiful and smart young granddaughter, Ella. But as Bernard discovers, Gloria does not think these are reason enough to continue being a doormat wife to a lacklustre husband. Instead, Gloria finds comfort in the company of her female friends, and Meg – their son’s ex-wife. Meanwhile, Bernard embarks on a bit of soul-searching while also pretending Gloria will return to her ‘normal’ self after her ‘little’ mental breakdown. He finds joy in the company of young Ella and starts teaching her German while attempting to find his way back into Gloria’s life. Meg is busy enough as a single mum without the added complication of her ex-mother-in-law’s descent into silence and apparent need for her.
Susan Midalia’s second novel, and fifth book, reflects her ongoing fascination with the minutiae of everyday ‘madness’, intergenerational relationships, contemporary social norms, marriages that unravel and stitch themselves back together, and the way female friendships cansave lives. A smart, witty, and wise read.