Truestory by Catherine Simpson
Truestory is Catherine Simpson’s debut novel, and hopefully the first of many. This is Alice’s story. She lives in a remote Lancashire farmhouse with her son, Sam and her husband, Duncan. Duncan is not a natural in the world of farming, or in the world of fatherhood and Alice fights to cope with the farm’s failing finances and to make Sam’s life as grounded as she can. Sam has Asperger’s Syndrome, a penchant for maps and a terror of change.
The treatment of Sam’s situation is both sensitive and well-informed. Catherine’s own daughter suffers from autism and her view of the book is that it is a ‘really sympathetic portrait of someone with autism … and it shows we can’t turn our weird off.’ Alice’s feeling of being trapped in her situation is beautifully captured and Catherine’s writing walks the fine line between humour and the darker side with amazing poise and balance.
Truestory is one of those rare books. It is a cracking, hard to put down ‘easy read’ which leaves you thinking for a very long time afterwards.
Sandstone Press Ltd (2015), £8.99