The chorus of praise for earlier books by Fiona Walker has been enthusiastic: her five previous international best-sellers have had critics and readers tingling with pleasure at the brilliant one-liners, whimsical plotting and larger-than-life characters. Of course, this kind of acclaim sets up certain expectations, but Lucy Talk is likely to do just as much for Walker's reputation as the much-acclaimed Between Males. The publishers promote her as the "voice of young, media-aware women", and the format of this book (it's told entirely in e-mails and letters) is absolutely right for her tale.
Lucy Gordon, Walker's wacky, beguiling heroine is dealing with a demanding boss (known as Slave Driver), her two critical friends (Jane and Bella) and her family of likeable eccentrics. While everyone tries to draw her attention to the fact that her attractive but fickle boyfriend Greg is taking advantage of her, Lucy's sunny nature blinds her to things that are obvious to everyone else. However, various professional and personal difficulties pitch her into a series of disasters and her equilibrium finally starts to get shaken. Will Walker grant her a happy ending?
This is delightful stuff, and while the e-mail novel is no longer such an innovative concept (perhaps it was when Walker started this), it's still brought off very cleverly here. Plus Walker's skill at finding some middle way between the way people really speak and the more witty discourse of the novel is brilliantly deployed:
He cooked me dinner--yes! This is a first. Admittedly it was only a boil-in-the-bag curry while we were watching a video, but I think it's a positive development in the relationship. I now have two jumpers, a toothbrush, a jar of moisturiser and a pair of jogging trainers in permanent residence at his flat. Am planning to sneak more items in without his noticing over next few weeks in the hope that it will subliminally trigger a sense of security and commitment in him. He's off to a stag party tonight, but I'm popping round first to help him on with his caveman outfit... --Barry Forshaw [via]