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Review: The Frequency of Us by Keith Stuart

by The Borrowers Book Group Kesgrave Library

The Borrowers Book Group at Kesgrave Library share their thoughts on The Frequency of Us written by British author and journalist by Keith Stuart.

About The Frequency of Us:

In Second World War Bath, young, naïve wireless engineer Will meets German refugee Elsa Klein; she is sophisticated, witty and worldly, and at last his life seems to make sense - until, soon after, the newly married couple's home is bombed, and Will awakes from the wreckage to find himself alone. No one has heard of Elsa Klein. They say he was never married.

Seventy years later, Laura is a social worker battling her way out of depression and off medication. Her new case is a strange, isolated old man whose house hasn't changed since the war. A man who insists his wife vanished many, many years before. Everyone thinks he's suffering dementia. But Laura begins to suspect otherwise.

Borrow a copy of The Frequency of Us from our catalogue.

Book group review:

This was an intriguing book - it is about relationships, but also there are elements of a ghost story, science fiction and parallel universes, as well as a central story of enduring love and loss.

The characters are strong and the setting of wartime Bath, and Bath in 2008, are both very vivid. The writing is good, as are the descriptions of the characters. We could envisage the crumbling mansion, a relic remaining from its days of grandeur, the sole survivor from wartime bombing among its neighbours. We could also picture the main character Will Emerson, curmudgeonly clinging on to his memories, determined not to let go and bereave his lost love.

The strength of the book is the interplay of relationships between Will and his Carer, Laura, a vulnerable but rounded character, with each recognising and responding to something in the other; between Will and Elsa, his lost love, and Elsa and her eccentric aunt. Ultimately there is redemption.

Recommendation: Suspend belief, focus on the relationships and enjoy the story of enduring love. Certainly something different for a Book Group.