The Trouble With Alice opens with a moment that changes lives. A moment caught with perfect precision and crystal clarity.
“Through the yellow air the car fell, and then out of the sunlight and into the shade of the mountain. In the air it turned over, catching the light with a glint and a flash before – bang – it hit the ground and careered the rest of the way down the stony hill on its roof.”
Kit and Alice were on holiday in Jordan. They hadn’t been away together before, and they wanted to go before Alice was “too pregnant to enjoy herself.” Before their lives were changed by a baby.
They both survived that terrible accident without major injuries. Except one. Alice lost her baby.
That could have drawn the couple together or it could have pulled them apart.
It seemed that it would pull them apart. As she mourned the loss of he child Alice withdrew from the world, and then she became anorexic. Kit didn’t know how to cope. He had moments of anger. Moments of guilt. Moments of confusion.
The portrayal of the emotional journey that followed the miscarriage is vivid, and moving.
The story moves between past and present, and it become evident that differences that hadn’t mattered in happy days of early romance and future planning mattered a great deal.
But life had to go on. And life did go on. I saw two their different characters, and how they were formed by very different backgrounds, I came to understand both Kit and Alice a little better. Neither was a hero and neither a villain. They were both flawed, fallible humans trying to cope.
The storytelling was clever, and it balanced honest and restraint beautifully.
And please note – both.
This is the story of both Kit and Alice, setting out their relationship. How it blossomed. How it was jolted. How it fractured. Maybe irreparably …
It is a story very well told.
This is not a comfortable read, but it is compelling.
And a very promising debut.