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The Trick to Time by Kit De Waal

The Trick to Time (edition 2018)

by Kit De Waal (Author)

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374444,150 (4.15)15
Title:The Trick to Time
Authors:Kit De Waal (Author)
Info:Viking (2018), 272 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Trick to Time by Kit De Waal



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I gave up on this. I could see the plan but she was not pulling it off. What a dull novel. ( )
  adrianburke | Jun 14, 2018 |
The Trick to Time was a book of ups and downs for me. I started underwhelmed, got hooked in the middle, appreciated Kit de Waal's cleverness with 40 pages to go and thought she copped out with the ending. ( )
1 vote missizicks | May 12, 2018 |
Leaving her home in rural Ireland in the 1970s Mona moves to Birmingham where she quickly finds love with William, a fellow Irish boy. Married and quickly pregnant Mona settles into a life of domesticity but all her dreams are taken away from her when her baby is stillborn and William suffers a breakdown. Fastforward forty years and Mona now leaves in a seaside town and runs a toyshop but she also helps those who have lost babies. However as Mona is wooed by a sophisticated German she thinks about her life and her future.

I really enjoyed de Waal first novel and I completely fell in love with this book, Kit de Waal is developing into a truly brilliant writer. I found the book slow at first but that is part of the charm of it, it gently woos the reader with the contrasting tales of Mona in modern times and the naive country girl from Ireland. The emotions around loss, both of stillborn babies and mental health are raw and beautifully expressed. I loved the fact that almost forty years of detail was actually left out and the twist at the end was unexpected yet felt so right. ( )
1 vote pluckedhighbrow | Apr 29, 2018 |
Kit de Waal’s new novel The Trick to Time has been eagerly anticipated by many of us who fell in love with Leon – the child narrator in her debut novel My name is Leon. I rather lost my heart to Leon – and so this novel had rather a lot to live up to. I enjoyed A Trick to Time every bit as much as I enjoyed that earlier novel – though probably in a different way.

My Name is Leon, is a novel with the city of Birmingham very much at its heart. The Trick to Time is (in part at least) a novel about who some of the people who came to Birmingham from Ireland were. Where they came from, how they lived and the shattering effect upon them of the night of November 21st, 1974. I was just six in November 1974, living in a suburb of Birmingham, my mum was in the city centre that day with some other women from her church. She was in a different part of the city centre up on broad street, so didn’t even know about what had happened till she got home. It was an event that had a massive impact on the city – and I think continues to. The Birmingham pub bombings are a back drop to the novel – and highlights the volatile nature of the relationships between Irish and non-Irish in the city during those years.

However, it is also about much more than that, there is a deceptive lightness of touch here, but Kit de Waal executes this multi-layered novel exquisitely. The Trick to Time is a novel about love, loss and grief – what do you do when you lose the love of your life? Using three, time periods and three different settings, kit de Waal weaves together the heart-breaking stories of people who carry a grief inside them every day.

“One day, you will want these hours back, my girl. You will wonder how you lost them and you will want to get them back. There’s a trick to time. You can make it expand or you can make it contract. Make it shorter or make it longer.”

Mona grew up in a small town on the coast of Ireland. Her mother died when she was a child, for years Mona is her father’s constant companion. She is a witness to his grief, feeling the absence of her mother throughout her childhood. She and her father spend many Sundays with Bridie – a distant relative of Mona’s mother – who Mona is horribly bored by – not appreciating how for Bridie she and her father are all she has left.

As a young woman, Mona travels to Birmingham, gets a room in a boarding house, a job – the independence and excitement she had once dreamed of in Ireland. Here she meets William, also originally from Ireland, he’s charming with an easy smile and the two are soon smitten. Mona meets Williams’s aunts nicknamed Pestilence and Famine, they become family.

“In the evenings they go to the Bear in Sparkhill. It’s an Irish pub and a man’s pub full of labourers who want a break from their rented rooms and their own company, and middle-aged husbands let off the leash after mass. Nicholas Doyle is always in the corner with his accordion or violin and a couple of drinks lined up on the table to his right. That’s where William likes to sit, right near the music, near the musician’s elbow jerking his bow through the air or folding and unfolding the accordion that sits in his lap like a baby. Talking is almost impossible.”

Mona and William marry, but these are difficult days, and sometimes William has to work away. The world conspires to separate them at the end of 1974 – and Mona has to find a way of carrying on.

Now Mona lives in an English seaside town, she is contemplating her sixtieth birthday in a few days’ time, and works quietly in her shop, making dolls for collectors, creating gorgeously detailed outfits for them. With the help of a local carpenter Mona makes other dolls – special dolls that she uses to help women grappling with the over whelming grief of a stillbirth.

“‘It was only the kindness of a stranger that gave me the time to say goodbye. And that kindness gave me forty-five minutes with my child and I turned that forty-five minutes into a lifetime, into all the days and hours and weeks and years that we would never have together.”

The Trick to Time is a wonderfully compelling novel – I loved Mona – her story is one I’ll not forget easily. Many people I suspect will be profoundly moved and affected by the themes in this novel which are explored with sensitivity and understanding. It is a novel with a wonderful final line – I do love a novel with a heart stopping final line. ( )
  Heaven-Ali | Apr 10, 2018 |
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Book description
A heart-wrenching love story from the internationally bestselling author of My Name Is Leon

Mona is a young Irish girl in the big city, with the thrill of a new job and a room of her own in a busy boarding house. On her first night out in 1970s Birmingham, she meets William, a charming Irish boy with an easy smile and an open face. They embark upon a passionate affair, a whirlwind marriage - before a sudden tragedy tears them apart.

Decades later, Mona pieces together the memories of the years that separate them. But can she ever learn to love again?

The Trick to Time is an unforgettable tale of grief, longing, and a love that lasts a lifetime.
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Mona is a dollmaker. She crafts beautiful, handmade wooden dolls in her workshop in a sleepy seaside town. Every doll is special. Every doll has a name. And every doll has a hidden meaning, from a past Mona has never accepted. Each new doll takes Mona back to a different time entirely back to Birmingham, in 1972. Back to the thrill of being a young Irish girl in a big city, with a new job and a room of her own in a busy boarding house. Back to her first night out in town, where she meets William, a gentle Irish boy with an easy smile and an open face. Back to their whirlwind marriage, and unexpected pregnancy. And finally, to the tragedy that tore them apart.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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