One of my favourite books in 2015 was The Shore so needless to say I was pretty excited to hear about Sara Taylor’s latest novel, The Lauras, which is published next month.
‘I wanted to sit up, to ask why we’d left him behind, what had happened to make them stop fighting so suddenly, but I stayed where my mother had put me.’
My interest was piqued early on in this novel as we get a glimpse of life in a home where family life is unsettled. The parents are continually arguing whilst their child listens, trying to block it out, to wake up and forget about it. However, one night is different. The house suddenly falls silent until the mother decides to leave the house, taking her child, Alex, along for the ride. This signals the beginning of this journey across the United States for mother and child, a journey with a lot to discover and so much left unsaid. This mother’s departure left myself – and Alex – with a lot of questions. Why would she walk away from the father of her child? Where will she go, and who would she run to? I was intrigued and eager to find out more about their lives, their past and their future.
‘There were stories that moved behind her eyes that she hadn’t told me, that she couldn’t tell me because the words to get them out just didn’t exist.’
As I read on the details of this woman’s life began to fall into place. As they travel from Virginia to California they return to places that hold significance in her life. This includes her time in foster care and her life growing up as a troubled teenager. The story is narrated by Alex so it was interesting to get a teenager’s view on their parents’ experiences when they were of a similar age and the trip proves eventful for both parties. This is very much a story about identity, relationships and finding your place in the world. This is particularly significant with relation to ‘coming of age’ and learning more about yourself, your gender and sexuality. What most intrigued me about this book was the way I, as a reader, made certain assumptions about the characters at varying stages of their journey, only to find later on that things may be different from what they seem. I found this to be particularly thought provoking, along with of course ‘The Lauras’ themselves– these events that helped shape a woman’s life, events that left their mark.
‘…what drove her onward, was fear of what would happen if she did go back; her courage was in facing her fear of the unknown world.’
I found The Lauras to be an enjoyable read that left me thinking about its contents long after the final page. It provides a fascinating glimpse into one woman’s past, and the relationship she has with her child.
The Lauras is to be published on 4th August 2016 by William Heinemann. With thanks to Emma Finnigan at William Heinemann for providing a proof copy for review.