The Home Corner
The Home Corner by Ruth Thomas is a funny, tender novel about feeling adrift when facing ‘the real world’ for the first time.
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Nineteen-year-old Luisa McKenzie has failed her Scottish Highers and finds herself back at primary school – working as a teaching assistant, a role she never envisaged or wanted. Her old friends have all left town and she spends her days perched in the classroom’s Home Corner, answering questions about God and Death and the colour of the sky.
Increasingly disillusioned and reflecting on paths not taken, Luisa begins to ask her own questions about life and the so-called adult world. As her end-of-year review looms, it looks like she may not even be able to hold down this unsatisfactory job much longer and, with the discovery of an uncomfortable secret, her take on reality slowly begins to unravel . . .
The Home Corner is a funny, tender novel about feeling adrift when facing the ‘real world’ for the first time. It explores the way we create our own identities in the light of other people’s, and queries the distinctions that are made between the absent and the present, the real and the imagined.
Ruth Thomas is a brilliant chronicler and observer of the hum-drumness of everyday life and this is a wonderfully funny and poignant story about how unsettling the transition from childhood to adulthood can be.
Ruth Thomas's understated style (and perhaps her innate shyness) means she is often overlooked. The Home Corner shows why she shouldn't be. Portraying being adrift in everyday life is her great strength - a real slow burn of a novel.
Luisa McKenzie broke my heart and made me roar out loud with laughter. Oh my God. What a novel. Such a humble theme and plot but such a moral powerhouse of a thing. I started it two days ago and I swear I could not put it aside... I LOVE small in the novel. I love the way it can penetrate the ordinary and light up something deeply precious there... this is why I loved the novel so much.
Thomas writes Luisa's story with a deft touch and a subtle lyricism ... [her] portrayal of the struggles and anxieties of late-adolescence are truly excellent and the empathy with which the story is treated create a warm, engrossing novel.
This is no teenage coming-of-age novel but a reckoning of the space each of us occupies in the adult world ... The Home Corner has the layered feel and texture of a short story but the impetus of an intriguing novel. There's a self-deprecating humour and a subtle sadness in what passes for ordinary life. As a philosophical meditation on the paths not taken, it excels.
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