I loved the sound of this book, and had actually spotted its cover in Blackwells the same week that the longlist was announced, although didn't have time to pick it up, so it was high on the list of the Orange longlist titles which I wanted to read.
The story itself was much more unusual and quirky than I was anticipating. It tells the story of a girl who flies to Los Angeles after her mother, Lily, dies - her mother had left her and her father when she was only three and she has little understanding of who her mother was in recent years. Arriving at the Pink Hotel, which her mother and partner had owned, too late for the funeral but whilst the wake is happening, she goes up to her mother's apartment to have a look around. She ends up packing up a bag filled with some of her mother's clothes and letters, and then spends the next weeks travelling around, meeting the people who were important in her life, and trying to put together a picture of her.
It's an interesting novel since the reader isn't quite sure how it will proceed, what the picture built up of Lily will be, or how that will impact on her daughter. I was not sure how believable it was for a 17 year old to take such a trip on her own without any prior planning - the girl is certainly bright and thoughtful, but still somewhat naeive. I also found it difficult to identify with her behaviour at some points, for example when she nearly ends up becoming intimate with one of her mother's former conquests.
All in all, different, certainly, but perhaps not one for me. Shortlist potential? Not sure...
By their books shall ye know them
22 hours ago