Monday, July 3, 2017

Book Review | Under the Sun by Lottie Moggach

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Thank you to Pan Macmillan (South Africa) for sending me a Picador Proof copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Anna moved to Spain to build a life for her and her artist boyfriend, Michael. She invested every penny to her name into a beautiful Finca for them and redecorated it to be their ideal home. Michael appeared to contribute nothing. 
Straight from the start her character is constantly belittled and made inferior to all those around her. While her friends and family believe she is living the dream is Spain, the reality is that her relationship is over. When he leaves with little more than a note goodbye, Anna is left alone to pick up the pieces. During a huge financial crisis, she rents out their Finca to a local business called Simón and shacks up in a tiny apartment in Marea where a bunch of expats have decided to call home. She runs a bar and carries out an affair with an older man in an attempt to boost her shattered confidence. 

Anna almost instantly regrets renting the Finca to Simón as strange things start to happen. A young African man arrives to collect the keys from her and it transpires that Simón could be letting a group of illegal immigrants stay there. 
When a body washes up onto the sandy shore, Anna is sure Simón has something to do with it... but how can she prove it?
Trapped in Spain, Anna will do anything to escape and get home but she's not really certain where 'Home' is anymore.  

*

I found Anna's character really weak and to be honest, stupid. The way she handles money related things is absolutely ridiculous and arrogant. The only time I found her remotely enjoyable is before her boyfriend abandons her and they are hosting a dinner party for some friends, Kurt and Farah. 
Farah is talking to Anna's boyfriend and Anna overhears her say, 'I'm just not sure what she brings to the table...' and Anna explodes at them from behind the wall, 'I bought the fucking table!' 
That was brilliant! I didn't connect with her on any level though.

Overall this book wasn't what I expected it to be. It wasn't a thriller or a love story or even both weaved together - I struggled to decide how to classify this novel at all really. 
Not a lot actually happens... it wasn't intense or gripping. Things seemed to build up and then just fall flat like a wave that just doesn't form properly.

No automatic alt text available.Under The Sun did something priceless for me though - it reminded me of the beauty in Spain, the small things that I had once loved in a place that became my nightmare. I have been bitter about Spain since I threw what I could into my suitcase and ran away from the life I'd tried to build for myself there after being betrayed by my best friend and lover, who cheated on me with over 8 women. 

This book had me feeling nostalgic under my winter blankets for warm summery days in Spain. The spilling glasses of Cava, thick legs of jamon screwed to wooden stands, paella on the beach, plates of sardines, lobster bisque, the language. It was a lovely reminder of a place I called home for a year and will never return to.





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