Leaving The World

<p>The central character in this novel is a highly intelligent and resourceful woman who struggles repeatedly to come to terms with loss and the randomness of life. As a child, she has to cope with her father's abandonment of her, and with the blame her mother projects onto her for her father walking out on them. As a young adult she falls in love with a married man who abandons her by committing suicide. Her subsequent partner leaves her for a woman who plays on his obsessive nature with wild promises of fame and fortune, but she is comforted by her young daughter who is now the centre of her life. Until one day there is a terrible accident and her world collapses.</p>
<p>I am full of admiration for Douglas Kennedy, who demonstrates such empathy for his female character and describes such depth of feeling. This is a work of great maturity. Although it is heartbreaking at times, the narrative is gripping and his characters absorbing. His central character faces life's challenges in a variety of different roles, from high finance to university teaching and library work, and interacts with a variety of people from different backgrounds, moving from one geographical location to another. The plot moves on seamlessly and utterly convincingly, and gathers pace towards the end when our heroine breaks free from her grief to tackle single-mindedly the mystery of a missing child.</p>
<p>At the heart of this novel is the dilemma we all face at certain times in our lives: how to deal with a random blow that fate inflicts upon us. Sometimes our loss is so great that we suffer temporary insanity. We anaesthetize ourselves with alcohol or drugs that then control our minds. Then we are faced with a tremendous struggle to regain control of ourselves.and our lives. Yet what is the point of fighting for a life that has lost all meaning? We must have a purpose in life, must reinvent ourselves when we have lost everything we once lived for. If not, we will go under.</p>
<p>Our heroine finds support and empathy from an unexpected source when she is at her most desperate, and when he tells her his life story, she realises that she is not alone in her struggle to reconnect with the world and cope with her suffering. After the central female character, this is the character I most admire.because of his compassion for a fellow sufferer. After all the men who have caused her grief, it is important to know that there is one man who acts from pure altruism to rescue this woman he barely knows..</p>
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Douglas Kennedy
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