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Reviews / Review: ‘It Comes’ by Joy Perino

Expecting a novel, I found myself reading something belonging to the realm of folk tales and story telling, described by the author as “a route map for fanatics, bigots, and domestic oppressors gone astray”.

The book charts a brief, but highly significant, episode in an embittered old man’s life, his encounter with his long-lost wife and daughters and, after years of self-denial, a tasting of the pleasures and delights of the human existence.

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Time and place are guesswork, though references to climate and flora strongly indicate a Mediterranean setting, a land of love and joy, milk and honey, set in stark and vivid contrast to the dark, grey city the hero has inhabited for most of his lonely life as a cantankerous and zealous bigot.

Perino allows her readers’ imagination free range, divulging neither appearance, background, nor the names of her characters. She keeps a strong hold on them, and only allows them to speak for themselves on rare occasions.

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Rather than progressing the narrative with dialogue, she tells the reader how her hero and heroines feel and relates in detail, and often with great emphasis, the subtle or not so subtle changes that occur in their thinking and subsequent actions.

A rich seam of earthly delights runs through the book; the seductive smell of simmering food, the mellowing effect of wine, the scents and colours of nature are used to good effect and described in exuberant metaphors such as “the green explosions of the kitchen”.

This tale of redemption celebrates the triumph of love and forgiveness over resentment and intransigence and takes a few unexpected twists and turns. It is told with conviction, charm, and flashes of humour in a highly individualistic style.

Rosa Steppanova

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