Book review: The Roundabout Man

Clare MorrallA clever and involved story by Clare Morrall about a man, his real mother, father and triplet sisters, and the seemingly identical fictional family created by his author mother in her popular series The Triplets and Quinn. It is a gentle story which reels you in.

At the age of 60 Quinn is living in a caravan parked in the middle of a wooded roundabout. He enjoys the quiet and the solitude. He forages for items to reuse, and scavenges for leftover food at the nearby Primrose Valley service station. We learn he fled the family home, The Cedars, the setting for The Triplets and Quinn series, after spending his adult years there caring for his eccentric widowed mother and showing fans of her stories around the house. The real story of this family has been subsumed by his mother’s fiction, easy answers to inquisitive fans who spout fiction as if it is reality, and his unwillingness to face up to unpalatable truths.

As real life and his mother’s fiction merge in Quinn’s head, it is a while before Quinn (and we) start to piece together the real story. Meanwhile real life intrudes at the roundabout and Quinn is forced to socialise with the service station employees. When, individually, his sisters visit him, he ends up with no answers and more questions. Why did his parents foster so many disadvantaged children, and then seem not to care about them? Was the story about the fictional Quinn’s kidnap as a baby based on a true event? And are the casseroles, left anonymously on his caravan doorstep, left there by foster child Annie of whom Quinn has fond memories?

Yet again, another delightful novel from Clare Morrall. She is so good at delving into human nature, family connections and the unintended misunderstandings and mis-firings which can affect a person’s life. Is it too late for Quinn? With his parents, Mumski and the Professor dead, is the truth out of reach?

Click here for my reviews of three other novels by Clare Morrall:-
The Man Who Disappeared
After the Bombing
The Language of Others

If you like The Roundabout Man, try:-
‘The Language of Flowers’ by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
‘The Signature of All Things’ by Elizabeth Gilbert
‘The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes’ by Anna McPartlin

‘The Roundabout Man’ by Clare Morrall [UK: Sceptre] Buy at Amazon

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