Reviewed by: Mojomums reviewer Katie
What they say: “A wonderfully observed story about Irene who, in the twilight of her life, finds herself surrounded not only by her children and grandchildren but also by their personal crises and uncertainties. Mapstone’s detailing of the tensions between Irene’s failing body and her healthy recalcitrant mind which insists on maintaining her independence and her dignity, is one of the highlights of this absorbing read. A remarkably accomplished, wholly absorbing portrayal of family, the love and tensions that bind them, and ultimately, an old woman’s gracious retreat from life. The Porcupine’s Dilemma is not only about ageing and dying, but also about life: the gift of offspring and perpetuity through those who come after.”
Jacob Ross, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature
What we say: “The Porcupine’s Dilemma is an instantly absorbing tale of Irene, a woman nearing the end of her life, surrounded by her family and it’s various dynamics.
Don’t be put off by the cover, it’s not a 70’s college text book on why it’s never to late to learn the piano, but a beautifully written, wonderfully descriptive account of relationships, past secrets, and the present frustrations of each generation. It certainly pulls on a few heart strings if you happen to be a parent, still lucky enough to also have a parent. At certain points though, the protagonists internal dialogue can become annoyingly repetitive, but its’ simple story combined with the intermittent subtle hints at unresolved past events, keeps you engaged throughout.
Mapstone’s detailed descriptions of an idyllic countryside, and the ease at which she delivers typical family conversation, makes it a treat to read.”
The Porcupine’s Dilemma by Elizabeth Mapstone is available from many good bookstores and online from Amazon.