Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French

A beautifully written story with the main character, Sylvia, slowly becoming alive through the reflections, feelings and memories shared by other characters: Ed, her decent and dependable ex-husband, Jo her mad and exuberant sister with her own take on resurrecting Sylvia, Cassie her estranged daughter, Cat her devoted, it seems, lover, Tia her hilarious cleaner and Winnie – her Jamaican nurse.

The characters alternate to make yet another disclosure about who Sylvia is. It is not easy to put her in any straightforward category. You may dislike her at first, but you as you go on, you discover that perceptions may be deceptive. And that is the beauty of French’s style – nothing is as straightforward as it seems at first sight. The trick is that the main character does and says absolutely nothing, and yet she grows on you as the story unfolds.


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