I am now unable to recall exactly why this title was on my to read list, but something about it must have originally attracted me. It was longlisted for the 2004 Man Booker prize and this first time author has been compared to Alan Bennett with her writing style.
Two couples Jan and Annemieke and George and Dorothy meet whilst on holiday on a Caribbean island. Jan and Annemieke are middle aged Belgians and they know for sure that this is the last of many such holidays, that they will take together. Jan has a terminal illness and knows he will soon be too weak to travel far. Escaping from their daily existence for awhile and knowing he is dying makes him realise that he has never taken the time to understand his wife. Meanwhile his wife Annemieke is wondering how she will cope alone and takes to participating in anonymous sexual encounters.
The other couple are British and are considerably older and this is the first and probably the last such trip they have ever undertaken. George also learns a lot about himself and his marriage to Dorothy, who has the early stages of Alzheimer’s, whilst on holiday and decides to write his memoirs in case he forgets who he is without Dorothy to help him remember.
The story of two ordinary couples both at the beginning of the end of their lives together I felt was a depressing enough topic without discovering that I was disappointed. It was a cleverly written comic tragedy but I just found it unbearably dull and impossible to lose myself in.