|Harper Collins Paperbacks|
the guardian Fri 17 September 2010
Brixton Beach, Tearne's previous novel, concerned a migrant's journey from war-torn Sri Lanka to oppressive England and was an engaging but flawed read. This follows a similar journey but adds a real focus and poise to its musings on place and nature. Poet Ria lives in self-imposed isolation on the Suffolk coast, unable to have children and estranged from the tiresome, rightwing brother who is her only real family. She barely notices the news reports of break-ins and mutilated animals that begin to swirl around her quiet village, but is shaken from her melancholy when she spots a young man swimming with graceful strength in the river at her garden's edge. He is a Sri Lankan doctor named Ben seeking asylum, and soon she has adopted his cause and he is playing aching jazz on her neglected piano. When shots ring out, Tearne follows the repercussions, exploring the worlds of a mother and a daughter, tracing lines of grief and regret and conjuring wonderful moments of stillness amid the subtle shades and delicate birdsong of the English coast.