Talking to the Moon by S.E. Durrant

S. E. Durrant beautifully captures intergenerational relationships in families and communities in her books. Her previous novel Running On Empty, which is a CLPE Power of Reading text, featured AJ who finds himself taking responsibility for many things to help his parents, who have learning difficulties, following the death of his grandfather.

This new novel has the relationship between Iris and her grandmother Mimi at its centre. Iris is living with Mimi in Brighton, close to the rest of her family, while her father sorts out the mould in her bedroom and Iris is glad to get some time away from her annoying toddler twin siblings. However, Mimi is becoming increasingly forgetful and Iris tries to cope with this by writing reminder lists for her and she disguises what is happening from her parents. She doesn’t want to acknowledge the indications of her grandmother’s dementia and denies any comparisons that Mason, her neighbour and classmate, makes with his grandfather’s behaviour.

One thing Mimi hasn’t forgotten, though, is the importance that her work as a photographer has been to her. Photographs from the past and a short film that Iris and Mason see at a local museum play important parts in the main narrative thread in this book – the mystery of what happened to Mimi’s cousin, Coral. Each chapter is divided into titled sub sections rather like new scenes in a film.

The conversations and characters are conveyed with warmth, empathy and gentle humour.

Nosy Crow 9781788004701