The arrival of a charismatic neighbor splits apart a small dysfunctional community. Alliances change, lovers become estranged and the catalyst remains forever unknowable in Kate Rigby’s short-listed novella.
“Suddenly Hassan laughs, a warm infectious laugh which utterly transforms him. ‘What fun. Come on. Entertain the Shah. Some more names.’ And Mark finds himself admitting Hassan to the world of Seaview Terrace’s more notable characters.”
Acutely realised observations of a micro society disintegrating under the tensions of its own contradictions. A novella that delights, informs, while inviting the reader, at the end, to change their point of view.
WHAT I THOUGHT
Kate Rigby’s Seaview Terrace is written in such a way that it made me feel like an observer. I can picture myself in a nice apartment on the beach looking in on the lives of those across the way on Seaview Terrace, out on the balcony with a glass of wine and getting a good dose of gossip. Essentially this book is about a group of people who live in an apartment block and we get insight into their lives. As a whole this shows the changes in people and the community dynamics, as well as the personal dynamics, as the weather changes. It’s not one of those books which needs an ‘answer’ at the end. I felt it was more like a running commentary on the lives of average every day people, showing what could be real people in real situations and this endeared Rigby to me because I do like to sit back and learn about people. I know I said I felt like an observer but I equally felt like I could have been living right there with them all, chatting, gossiping, crying, yelling and laughing as the days chugged on and life continued.
The residents of Seaview Terrace are certainly a group of allsorts which includes, I think, quite a good representation of society. We’ve got the boyfriend and girlfriend, a gay couple, a widow, a family, people from different cultures, busy bodies, complainers, entrepreneurs, happy people, sad people and frustrated people…..and this does not include all of the characters. Rigby managed to have so many different people in the one story and keep abreast of it all, putting it all together to make the reading experience entertaining and smooth and this demonstrates her writing skills and imagination.
Maxine and Warren are girlfriend/boyfriend and you get the sense that their relationship is on the rocks. I got the feeling Maxine wanted a little bit more out of life and you read through the book wondering if that life involves Warren. Guy and Mark are the gay couple who have nicknames for other residents, commentate on the goings on in the building and out there by the beach and add just the right amount of humour to the reading experience. Hassan is a welcome addition – or is he? Somewhat mystical, this man seems to have a mesmerising shall we say power over quite a few of the occupants.
I loved reading about the parking debacle. The residents of Seaview Terrace find themselves having to wait ages to secure a parking bay as people visiting the beach are taking them all. This gets quite a few people hot under the collar and provides for some funny incidents. I can so see this happening and imagine it is happening right now somewhere in the world.
All in all, quite a pleasant read where I didn’t feel like I had to work to enjoy the story or to understand what was going on. A good portrayal of the goings on in different people’s lives and the want for something more in life where everyday living gets in the way of that want at times. Real life.
Many thanks to Kate Rigby for providing me with a copy of Seaview Terrace and inviting me into the lives of her characters – thanks, Kate!
Check out Kate’s author profile by clicking here