One of my neighbours has recently had an accident that has left him in a wheelchair. He is limited in his movements but can still be found zipping around the streets of the ‘hood in his temporary transportation. He has a young daughter who beams from her father’s lap as she too hitches a ride on this robust steed. Clearly my neighbour is unperturbed during the convalescence of his short-lived condition. This display is refreshing but knowing it is passing most likely adds to his good humour and irreverence. I must admit I chuckle to myself as he rockets past me with a thumbs up. Whatever circumstances have led to his current condition; they have not left any permanent or long-lasting damage. He may be dipping his toe in the pool of incapacitation but he is soon to be swimming in an ocean of physical competency.
The condition of protagonist Will Traynor is anything but temporary. A cruel and all-encompassing accident has left the former London investment banker/ adrenaline junkie a quadriplegic with limited movement in one arm and boundless pessimism in spirit. He is cynical, bitter and laments for his former life.
Louisa Clark has been sent in to assist the impassive Will. At 26 years old she is uneducated, unskilled, unmotivated and frankly, uninterested. She is also infuriatingly myopic in her outlook having seen dearth of the universe beyond her small English village. However, there is something in Louisa’s fecklessness that is curiously beguiling. Her clumsy presentation and heart-on-her-sleeve outlook is refreshingly simplistic and honest. She demands little from the world and is equally undemanding of it.
This novel is beyond moving. I was weeping 30 minutes after I have finished the last page and was still sifting through a fog the day after. So I am equally impressed and suppressed by Moyes’ novel. There is indeed something about this tale that loiters just beyond consciousness. Not quite a shadow and not quite a scarf, this novel wraps itself around the deepest echelons of your heart.