Camberwell Beauty

19861393Entertaining Observations of The Human Condition. A wonderfully absorbing, funny and observant book, full of larger-than-life Marmite characters who both fascinate and repel at the same time. The Metcalfs and the Cunnnghams live privileged, indulgent lives on one of nicest streets in London; the good end, that is. And yet plenty of money and all the material things in the world can’t fix absolutely everything. Big-hearted Jo Metcalf at number 95 is desperate for a good friend and homes in on the rather elusive, beautiful Anna Cunningham who lives at the Pink House, and a friendship ensues.
Their men chum along but they’re not really from the same mould: Nigel the philanderer likes to dabble in the white stuff, as opposed to Anna’s husband Chris, who is practically saintly in comparison. But their friendships endure over the years despite Anna taking everything and everyone for granted and even Jo’s martyrdom is sometimes pushed to its limits. Eventually Anna pushes everyone too far and makes a mistake, culminating in an event which has devastating consequences for them all.
Although Jenny Eclair’s writing is sharp and at times outrageously funny – or sometimes simply outrageous – this isn’t a shallow read. There are layers, dark depths, and subtle character motivations are revealed along the way. Can anyone who wasn’t shown how to love by their own mother show love to their own children? And there’s a strong message about the power of love and forgiveness within a marriage, too.

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