ABOUT THE BOOK
Funny, acerbic Edie Richter is moving with her husband from San Francisco to Perth, Australia. She leaves behind a sister and mother still mourning the recent death of her father. Before the move, Edie and her husband were content, if socially awkward―given her disinclination for small talk.
In Perth, Edie finds herself in a remarkably isolated yet verdant corner of the world, but Edie has a secret: she committed an unthinkable act that she can barely admit to herself. In some ways, the landscape mirrors her own complicated inner life, and rather than escaping her past, Edie is increasingly forced to confront what she’s done. Everybody, from the wildlife to her new neighbors, is keen to engage, and Edie does her best to start fresh. But her relationship with her husband is fraying, and the beautiful memories of her father are heartbreaking, and impossible to stop. Something, in the end, has to give.
Written in clean spare prose that is nevertheless brimming with the richness and wry humor of the protagonist’s observations and idiosyncrasies, Edie Richter is Not Alone is Rebecca Handler’s debut novel. It is both deeply shocking and entirely quotidian: a story about a woman’s visceral confrontation with the fundamental meaning of humanity.
I listened to this on audiobook.
This is one of those quiet, unassuming books that you find you can’t stop thinking about once you’ve finished the last page. It’s the story of Edie Richter who is dealing with a father who has dementia, and the stresses and strains that places on her and her family – and the feelings when he’s not around anymore and the consequences of her actions that can never leave her.
Edie is a very quiet character – seemingly just getting on with what life throws her way, while never showing what’s on the inside. We get inside her head so see the quandry and dilemmas she faces and that really comes to the fore when her and her husband move from America to Australia, and a different way of life and being so far from home allow her thoughts to fester and the strain begins to take its’ toll.
It’s a really touching book, full of humorous little sides, alongside the more heartbreaking and deeper emotional points that the reality of humanity shows us. The little observations that Edie encounters are perfectly portrayed and that inner battle with herself is just haunting to watch, as she finds it easier to open up to a stranger than her own family as she still puts on that brave face to most of the world.
The relationship with dad and daughter was extremely touching, and having had relations with dementia, I found myself totally understandin the ‘playing along’ with scenarios to keep the peace and not upset the sufferer. The unpredictability of the illness would make life very precarious for the family and watching people deal with it differently also added a different dimension.
A short read that really packs a punch!