A relationship that one can have with a wooden fence is in many ways similar to the emotional landscape portrayed in this book. A breakup following an affair was described with as much sensitivity. On the surface, a wooden fence looks meaningful. It gives one a sense of security as it separates one’s place from the rest of the world; it provides a sense of satisfaction when is colored nice and it can even help one’s flowers to grow. It also resembles some of the possible dangers that a relationship can encounter. It breaks when one leans too harshly and it always has an open space or gates, so that one can exit without too many difficulties.
But relationships between people are normally more diverse; they aren’t just there waiting for someone to attach whimsical meanings to them and they aren’t the servants of a mere convenience. They need some action and reciprocity to happen, and some motives to define their course. Considering an abundance of works with similar themes, where the hardships of relationships are shown in all their glory (Kureishi’s Intimacy, Ferantte’s The Days of Abandonment etc.), I mistakenly believed that the protagonist’s search of finding a purpose in a mess of her affairs will eventually bear some fruit, but every new page proved me wrong and has drawn me further away from discovering it.
I can’t blame the components the author has used. Youth, childless attachment and unfounded obsessions are fragile enough to work with and there’s a lot of effort needed to prove their significance. But it can be done (at least Shakespeare’s done it!), so something else has to be responsible for this novel’s lack of credibility and force. It was as if the author was convinced that twisting and turning the plot will bring on a complexity by itself. That didn’t happen and even the promise of a final hook, that was all that held me on, turned out to be as superficial as the rest of the book.