LOSING TOUCH: A Novel ~Sandra Hunter
“If nothing is said, the things that often lie like dead flowers under their scarves, their nice English blouses, their neat English shirts, do not exist. A few tables away an English couple are having lunch. Does the woman have flowers beneath her sleeves, too? But English couples are so polite and respectful. It isn’t possible to imagine slaps ricocheting across those perfectly pink English cheeks. And the woman’s voice, so gentle and sweet – sounding could never be raised in a screech even if her husband threw a dinner plate at her head. And he wouldn’t, because he’s English.” (Page 99 of PDF Final proofs)
LOSING TOUCH is one of the most beautifully written stories I have read in a very long time. As a person who is in the “letting go” stage of life, it is a new way to enjoy the fragrance of flowers and the charm of a sunny day; it holds the power of retrospective and being in the moment at the same time. I just walked through this book, enjoying the pace and thinking my own stories.
The Kutkani family has immigrated to England from India to begin new lives. In the beginning, Arjun and Sunila are attending Junti’s, Argun’s younger brother, memorial service. Junti a London architect has died at age 32 from a genetic spinal muscular atrophy. We discover that mother has already died; they did not leave this in India. They were rapid decline deaths and now Arjun must care for his sister-in-laws and their children as this is his extended family responsibility. Arjun has been trained as a nurse in England. Sunila works in an office.
Arjun begins falling down without any warning, just one leg or the other randomly stops working.
The story progresses from 1966 to 2005, as Arjun and Sunila have various letting go moments or the muscle problems become worse. We are joining this journey through the inner dialogue of this couple, who sometimes love each other and sometimes they do not. The teenage struggles with their children are vehicles to share more of the past and their leaving behind another culture and watching their children embrace what they know; how they live this life. The parents use younger cousins to keep the conversation open and discover their son’s and daughter’s visions of future. The railroad park experience is a glimpse to the future departures. I wanted cream cakes and that joy of possibility for myself also. They want acceptance of being English and not outside, and Arjun and Sunila know that their children are not always treated with respect.
There are numerous cups of tea and biscuits as the process of release continues and Arjun becomes bedridden with Sunila taking care; has he told her he loves her now? Their son is successful in Australia and daughter and grandson are settled in Boston. The author allows the reader to go with a gentle push. LOSING TOUCH did not disappoint and leaves the reader content.
From the book:
“Sandra Hunter was born in Ely, Cambridgeshire and grew up in Hayes, Middlesex, England. A writer and visual artist, her short stories have been published in a number of literary magazines and have won numerous awards including the 2012 Cobalt Fiction Prize and the 2011 Arthur Edelstein Short Fiction Prize. She currently lives in Ventura, California, with her husband and daughter, and teaches English and Creative Writing at Moorpark College. LOSING TOUCH is her first novel.”
LOSING TOUCH was sent to me by TLC Online Booktours for review and I so enjoyed this read I am grateful for the opportunity. Thank you for the gift of LOSING TOUCH.