Friday 25 September 2020

BLOG TOUR: Where the Edge Is - Gráinne Murphy

As a sleepy town in rural Ireland starts to wake, a road subsides,trapping an early-morning bus and five passengers inside.  Rescue teams struggle and as two are eventually saved, the bus falls deeper into the hole.

Under the watchful eyes of the media, the lives of three people are teetering on the edge. And for those on the outside, from Nina, the reporter covering the story, to rescue liaison, Tim, and Richie, the driver pulled from the wreckage, each are made to look at themselves under the glare of the spotlight.

When their world crumbles beneath their feet, they are forced to choose between what they cling to and what they must let go of.

What did I think?

I have to start by saying that Where the Edge Is is so beautifully written that I was surprised to find that it is Gráinne Murphy's debut novel.  The emotive writing really drew me into the story and brought the characters' feelings to life.  I found it a very easy book to read and even though it wasn't as tense and gripping as I perhaps expected, it certainly held my interest.

Although the bus accident happens at the start of the book, Gráinne Murphy focuses on the characters around the scene rather than the people inside the bus.  This might come as a surprise to readers who are expecting a survival story of characters whose lives are passing before their eyes as the bus plunges deeper into the earth.  It is a survival story in a way as two of the main characters, Nina and Tim, find a way to live each day after a devastating event tore them apart.

Nina is the reporter on the scene and Tim is the firefighter liaison; they used to be married so it's difficult for them to be in such close quarters, especially when it opens up old wounds.  I found Nina and Tim's story extremely heartbreaking but I loved how Gráinne Murphy showed things both from a male and female perspective.  I don't really want to say what happened to them as it's a bit of a spoiler but I've never considered how hard it must be for a man to take a back seat and hover on the periphery in certain situations.

When two survivors are pulled out of the bus, people are more suspicious than joyous as one of them is Muslim.  I loved the character of Alina; it felt like she wasn't Muslim enough for her family and not Irish enough for everyone else.  Her husband really annoyed me though, especially when he kept trying to speak for her and if I thought he was annoying, his mother was even more so.  I was so mad that Alina's faith made people suspicious of the other survivor, bus driver Richie, and he was hailed as a hero by some people but vilified by others.

Gráinne Murphy really knows how people tick and Where the Edge Is completely captures the many foibles of human nature; it's a very character driven story and the bus crash kind of lingers in the background as the main story plays out on the page.  Thought-provoking and emotive in a way I didn't expect, Where the Edge Is is a superb debut from a very talented new writer.  
I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Gráinne grew up in rural west Cork, Ireland. At university she studied Applied Psychology and forensic research. In 2011 she moved with her family to Brussels for 5 years. She has now returned to West Cork, working as a self-employed language editor specialising in human rights and environmental issues.

Twitter: @GraMurphy

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