For me, the title sums up the book. I found it a perfect read – wonderful prose, great descriptions of the natural world, and a good storyline. Rachel Joyce has created some memorable characters, and shows an empathetic awareness of human behaviour and emotions.
The novel focuses on two schoolboys during the hot summer of 1972, and the subsequent adult life of one of the boys. A series of incidents leads to a tragedy, and we experience them through the perspective of the boys, Byron and James. Byron refers to the first incident as ‘the mistake’, and blames the subsequent events on the two seconds that were added to time in 1972. Time is a dominant theme in this book, and we witness the profound changes that several of the characters experience as the story, and time, progress.
This is Rachel Joyce’s second novel, following The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which was a Richard and Judy book club book last year. I think she’s a writer to watch.