A Place called Here
A Place called Here
Reviewed by Calli Pilkington
‘A place called here’ is the story of Sandy Shortt an obsessive compulsive who is fixated with finding lost things, this stems from the disappearance of her ten year old neighbour Jenny May Butler when Sandy was also a child.
Struggling to find here place in the world she starts a missing person’s agency. Along with Sandy’s narrative we here the story of Jack Ruttle whose brother Donal has gone missing. Jack contacts Sandy to help him track down his missing brother.
En-route to meet with Jack, Sandy happens upon an alternative universe called ‘here’ where lost things go. This place is a communal haven for all missing persons they live in an idyllic enclave, where they are sheltered from the problems that exist in the real world. They have solar panels beautifully carved buildings and a virtually crime free society.
The story develops as Sandy has now gone missing, will she find her way back and will Jack find his brother.
Although all agreed that the concept of the story was good and the premise had great potential. Everyone felt that this was not fulfilled, that there was very little character development and that the main character Sandy had very little depth and it was very difficult too empathise or feel for her. The place called ‘here’ was too sterile too ideal and if one where to imagine a place like this where lost things end up, you would picture it as being much more ‘post apocalyptic’ with people scavenging and not this commune of contentment that Ms. Ahern has created. It was also noted that the book itself was very poorly edited and there were many small inaccuracies that occurred that were totally un-necessary, such as her reference to the lotto and the Garda College being in Cork. Also it is very clear that this novel was written with a market abroad in mind when you come across ‘Americanisms’ such as ‘white picket fences’ and ‘milk and cookies’. It is clear from her writing that Ms. Ahern is unaware of what 1980’s Ireland was like and maybe she saw it through rose coloured spectacles.
In her favour though, she has a flair for dialogue. This book may appeal to those in their late teens as it certainly has a fairytale quality about it.