The Forever Girl
Alexander McCall Smith
Pantheon Books, 2014. 316 pages. Fiction.
McCall Smith's latest book follows two love stories. Amanda and David have a fairy-tale life on Grand Cayman: two children, a nice house, a stable job, friends and clubs. Everything is idyllic, until Amanda suddenly realizes that she is no longer in love with David. Meanwhile, Amanda's daughter, Clover, is in love with her childhood friend, James, but knows that he doesn't love her. In spite of his rejection, she carries a torch for him that can't be extinguished even as they are separated by oceans and continents.
McCall Smith explores the nature of love through the two storylines over the course of two decades. And, in doing so, he does what he does best: creates characters that you are interested in knowing. The plot of the story is really negligible; the beauty of the book comes from watching the inner workings of each character's mind and seeing them grow and evolve as people. While not a fast-paced, plot-driven book, the tone and writing are deeply introspective and soothing. (His books are ones that I love to listen to because the words have a rhythm and cadence that are as peaceful as a lullaby.) This is a book that will make you think and make you want to meet the characters you've read so much about.