Bookended by two New Year’s Eve parties Ordinary People explores the coming and going and nature of love in a small, apparently unshakeable family. Melissa and Michael move into their new house with their new baby and young daughter. During the course of the year they each struggle to come to terms with the shape of their new life and the new shape of their relationship.
Author: Diana Evans
Title: Ordinary People
Press: Chatto & Windus (Vintage)
The poetry of Evans’ writing made it really hard to put this book down, even when it was making me openly weep on the bus. The way she describes the passage of place and time, the Crystal Palace motif and the slow and steady aging of the children wraps the novel so tightly that it’s impossible to imagine losing a single sentence.
I thoroughly enjoyed the wandering narrative perspective which allowed the reader insight into both Melissa and Michael’s personal struggles. This shifting made the falling apart of their relationship even harder to bear, knowing the secret desires and frustrations of both made their inability to adequately express these to each other immensely sad.
Diana Evans deconstructs our expectations of love and shows that in the modern world the traditional roadmap for love is oftentimes inadequate. It begs questions of the pressures of motherhood, blackness and masculinity. Beautiful.