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Book DetailsISBN: 9781743310267
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Book Review: Wife on the Run by Fiona Higgins - Reviewed by CloggieA (25 Oct 2014)
Wife on the Run is the second novel by Australian author, Fiona Higgins. Paula McInnes, almost forty, has been married to Hamish for seventeen years and has spent much of that time making a good home for him and their now-teenaged children, Caitlin and Lachlan. But suddenly a series of events turns her stable existence upside down, and she decides to escape. She resolves to finally undertake their long-planned-but never-achieved Caravan Adventure Trip Around Australia, taking the kids out of school and leaving Hamish to fend for himself. Her elderly dad, Sid, now a widower, will accompany them, contributing his van and his caravanning expertise, although her sister, Jamie has grave reservations about all this. And as a large portion of the blame for her woes goes to the Internet, their trip will be technology free. Despite plans and ground rules, things don’t proceed quite as intended: there is some rebellion by the teens and Sid has some quite clever ideas of his own; a rather sexy Brazilian backpacker is thrown into the mix; and Hamish decides he must act to prevent his family from disintegrating. Higgins gives the reader an original plot that does not necessarily follow expectations. Her characters are easily recognisable from everyday life: the officious headmaster; the conscientious homemaker; the workaholic husband; the enthusiastic retiree; the true-blue Aussie mate; and the concerned older sibling. None of the characters is quite what they first seem: they all have weaknesses and succumb to temptation on occasion. Even the stereotypical chauvinistic male shows some depth as the story progresses, such that, at one point, readers may actually feel a little sorry for him. However, the descriptions of Hamish’s sexual transgressions are quite explicit, and readers should be prepared for the abundant use of expletives in his parts of the narrative, though that certainly gives it an authentic touch. The dialogue is natural and there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. Much of the subject matter is quite topical: Facebook postings that go viral; the pitfalls of internet porn sites; dependence on technology; appropriate Internet supervision of younger users; Higgins also touches on some traditional themes: family loyalty; the hazards of holiday romances; accepting people at face value; the importance of good communication. This latest offering by Higgins is moving, thought-provoking and quite often utterly hilarious. Readers familiar with her work will not be disappointed and newcomers will be prompted to seek out her earlier novel, The Mothers’ Group. With thanks to TheReadingRoom and Allen&Unwin for this copy to read and review.
Fiona Higgins is the author of three novels, Fearless, Wife on the Run and The Mothers' Group, and a memoir, Love in the Age of Drought.Fiona has qualifications in the humanities and social sciences, and has worked in the philanthropy and not-for-profit sector in Australia for the past seventeen years.Having recently returned from three years in Indonesia, she now lives in Sydney with her husband and three children.www.fionahiggins.com.au www.facebook.com/fionahigginsauthor
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