It is difficult for a man to write in the first person as a woman – I know, I’ve tried. And I it’s difficult the other way round, too; I’ve certainly read female writers who have tried to be a man and failed – badly. But Barney Norris succeeds. Not only that, in his “Turning for Home” he manages two distinct characters both written from a first person perspective; one and eighty-year-old man, the other a young woman. Not only that, but she is a troubled woman too.
“Turning for Home” is, in many ways, a quiet, understated kind of book. Focussed largely around the action of a single twenty-four hours, it gets its perspective through characters thinking back to past events either in thought to which only we are privy, or through dialogue with others. In many respects, apart from the alternate character juggling, you might say that not a lot happens, and that all the drama, the stuff of life is just under the surface. But isn’t how things really are?
I liked “Turning for Home”, and I wouldn’t hesitate to read something else by Mr. Norris. “Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain” then…
Can’t say more than that really.