We Are All Made of Glue by Marina Lewycka

Georgie Sinclair is going through a rough patch. Her husband has left her, her son seems to think the world is about to end, and the rejection slips for her novel “The Splattered Heart” are building up. The only constant in her life is her job as a freelance contributor to a publication called “Adhesives in the Modern World”, and glue becomes a recurring motif throughout the novel, holding the different strands of the story together.

Georgie meets Naomi Shapiro, an elderly eccentric who lives in a large and stinky old house with her seven cats, and gets drawn into her world. She finds herself trying to protect her new friend from sneaky real estate agents and nasty social workers who seem intent on getting her into an old people’s home. At the same time, her curiosity is piqued by Naomi’s mysterious experiences in Europe during WW2 and she tries to piece together her past from old photographs and letters she finds while shamelessly snooping.

This is a curious book – broad comedy interwoven with darker themes – but it works. The characters, particularly the gloriously dishevelled Naomi, are beautifully rounded and real, and the story is always engaging. A really enjoyable read. Paperback $24.95. Fiona

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