Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech: a stirring novel
Review: Beautifully written, reminiscent of the early works of Maggie O’Farrell
Maria in the Moon
Thirty-one-year-old, Catherine Hope is rebuilding her life after the UK floods of 2007. Sharing a dismal one-bed flat with her journalist friend, she dreads her weekly visit to the family home and all the drama that it entails. While volunteering for a Flood Crisis helpline, unfocused memories begin to surface but she cannot grasp their meaning. Nor is she sure that she wants to. Beech introduces a character that is both discordant and delicate. Catherine clings on to recollections of her father and grandmother, whilst acknowledging her unwanted status as a step-daughter. She wonders why she is no longer called Catherine-Maria, a name her grandmother had chosen. A cracked statue of the Virgin Mary hovers within her fractured memories and symbolises her broken childhood. As she engages with her new role as a crisis counsellor, and with the help of her mentor, she addresses the past and faces the relevance to her future: “I knew buried under the weight of those heavy words was something terrible”. A stirring novel, beautifully written, reminiscent of the early works of Maggie O’Farrell.