My husband has recently embarked on an ambitious project of semi-retirement and is rattling about the house, making himself sound and look indispensable. Trying to understand my semi-retired spouse, I reached for R J Gould’s Mid-Life Follies. I was intrigued by its premise: Hugh retires from many years in education, ready to sail into the Golden Age of idle pleasures in life. Instead, he finds himself in thralls of mid-life crisis brought about by some unexpected developments. It seems like his wife Liz is having second thoughts about their marriage.
The story takes us through their life together, both from his and her perspective while in the present time, they battle with doubts, temptations and mistakes, and the reader travels with them to see whether their marriage is strong enough to overcome them all. This book reminded me of Us by David Nicholls. Just like Us it dissects relationships at a stage when it is no longer about impulses and more about self- and mutual discovery.
Mid-Life Follies is witty (there were moments where I laughed out loud) as well as insightful and reflective. The characters are real – the sort of people you may have met and would find easy to relate to. They are well-fleshed out and multi-dimensional.
I really enjoyed this story and will read more of Richard Gould. All in all, a funny and perceptive tale. Highly recommended.