I’ve been having something of a Clare Morrall fest, that thing you get when you discover an author and wish they’d written more. The worst thing is when you get that feeling but the author is dead and there’s nothing left to read.
Natural Flights of the Human Mind is an original story about two outsiders who are brought together by circumstance and who, unknowingly, help each other to come to terms with their past. They are both scratchy characters, secretive, who do not invite gestures of friendship. Despite this, I liked both of them. Like all Morrall’s books, this is a gentle build, gradually unveiling the hidden goodness of people who on the outside seem unattractive and possibly irredeemable. Pete Straker lives in a lighthouse which threatens to collapse, a symbol of his life since he caused the death of 78 people 24 years earlier. He talks to no-one, the only sign of his caring nature is his nurturing of his two cats. Imogen Doody, a school caretaker whose husband walked out one day and never returned, inherits a wild, uninhabited cottage, covered with dense undergrowth, a symbol of her life. These two outsiders meet and, despite Straker’s silence and Doody’s anger, come to understand each other’s turmoil.
With numerous references to Biggles, the discovery of a Tiger Moth in a barn, and much DIY, this is a story about how lives can be rebuilt no matter what happened before.
‘Natural Flights of the Human Mind’ by Clare Morrall [UK: Sceptre] Buy now
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