In the follow-up to her bestselling novels, Me before You and After You, author Jojo Moyes has published an eclectic collection of nine short stories each from a woman’s perspective and dealing with a variety of themes from troubled relationships to near magical shoes. The longest story in the set is “Paris for One” and centres on Nell who by her own admission is “not the adventurous type”, but has given up a planned trip to Brighton to have a romantic trip to Paris with her boyfriend, Peter. At the outset it is clear that Peter has no intention of joining her, and instead of following her routine inclinations and cancelling, she embarks for Paris on her own. The weekend does not start promisingly when Nell finds her hotel has double booked her and she spends the first night sharing with a stranger. Preserving she soon discovers the delights of the city and the company of an attractive Frenchman named Fabien.
My favourite tale is “Between the Tweets” and follows a formerly popular TV personality with a squeaky clean image and sinking ratings. Mr. Travis is being trolled on the internet by a woman who claims to have had a spicy relationship with him. The story is a delight about a PR nightmare with an unusual twist.
Each tale in this collection is intriguingly written, and the characters are well drawn (if not necessary all entirely likeable) using dialogue for the most part mixed with subtle narration . Moyes experience as a journalist as well as a fiction writer is evident in the succinct use of description that give the barest of details and leaves much to the reader’s imagination.
This would be a great and quick read for Moyes fans and anyone would relishes the joys of an interesting short story.
The recent release of the trailer to the movie, “Me before You”, reminded me of how much I loved the book on which the film is based. The story begins with Louisa Clark, having just lost her waitressing job. Times have not been good for the Clark family and her parents depend on the extra money that Louisa brings in. The recession has hit their small English town and jobs of any kind are scarce; so when the opportunity of being a companion to a disabled man at better than average pay comes along, Louisa jumps at the chance even though she hasn’t a clue about caregiving.
Her charge, Will Traynor was once a powerful investment broker but an accident has left him a quadriplegic. Will is many things; bright, educated, demanding, difficult and depressed. Forced to live in the modified annex of his family’s palatial home, Will feels the life he has is no longer worth living, and has chosen assisted suicide in six months’ time at a clinic in Switzerland. The beginning of Louisa’s relationship with Will is difficult but overtime they grow closer. When Louisa learns of Will’s decision, she throws herself into creating opportunities to show Will that his life matters. Will takes an interest in educating Louisa, showing her that there is a whole world outside her village by introducing her to foreign films, wines, literature and classical music. Will sees all the potential that resides in Louisa, and tries to get her to spread her wings.
On the surface much of the tale seems to be about the relationship between two very different people but the core of the novel is really an exploration and celebration of Life and the relationships with others that bring colour and joy to our own existence. Warning: bring tissues.