It’s the summer of 1959, and the well-trimmed lawns of Sunnylakes wilt under the California sun.
At some point during the long, long afternoon Joyce Haney, a seemingly happy housewife and mother, vanishes from her home, leaving behind only two terrified young children and a bloodstain on the kitchen floor.
With the stifling heat of Tangerine and the gripping pace of Little Deaths, The Long, Long Afternoon is at once a page-turning mystery and an intoxicating vision of the ways in which women everywhere are diminished, silenced and, ultimately, underestimated.
My pick of this weeks reading is the brilliantly evocative novel “The Long Long Afternoon” by Inga Vesper, an absolutely beautifully crafted story that captures the sense of a time past with pitch perfect clarity.
The power of this novel comes within the exploration of a woman’s place in a world where attitudes are still informed by racism and sexism- and whilst weaving a compelling and intriguing mystery also shows us how far we have come and how far we still have to go. The reality of the time is presented with razor sharp precision giving the whole story a thought provoking undertone that stays with you long after you turn the final page.
It is literary crime fiction that keeps the reader involved from first page to last and in characters Joyce and Ruby shows clearly the divide and the mutual understanding of two women far apart in the social structure.
The mystery element is clever and unpredictable, playing into the wider themes really well and overall The Long Long Afternoon is a novel that deserves a wide readership- therefore it comes highly recommended by me.