On the Far Side, There's a Boy
Why does a woman need a young boy so, and can she ever find him?
Martine Haslett feels fine: happy and fine. A sensual, thirty-something 1980s London woman, she plays hard on the fringes of the drag club scene, works hard and dates hard. Then one particular night with a new man prompts her to sign up to a charity and write to a young Sri Lankan boy, with consequences far and long.
Meanwhile in Sri Lanka, a young girl is compelled to help her little brother Mohan with a task she'd rather do for herself. Struggling with change and tragedy in her family life in rural Kandy, the girl embarks on a foolish course.
In 2013, Martine has returned from the beautiful Kandyan mountains. But even now there's much of the journey and her past that Martine knows she still avoids. There are still letters in a box that she won't touch, a nocturnal dream that she longs to dream to its conclusion, and she's unsure about a foreigner who's soon arriving to stay.
Martine knows she must overcome the history of her hopes. But all this time she has been bound to the Sri Lankan girl by the young boy Mohan, and the moon that shines on them both. It's just that Martine is unaware how much.
This is an exotic fable for anyone who has ever longed to have, or adopt, a child.
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Auntie-Uncle Moon is everyone's confessor: controlling tides, and ovulation, waxing and waning over space and time while the tectonic plates of people's lives shift and collide. A new writer with an absorbing tale, Paula Coston gives us a wonderfully contemporary book with a very contemporary voice. ~ Jamila Gavin, Whitbread award-winning author of 'Coram Boy', novel and show in London and on Broadway
A well-written and intriguing read. ~ Katie Fforde, Novelist
Paula Coston addresses what will, in time, be seen as one of the central themes of our time: what becomes of the woman who wanted to be a mother but it didn't work out? Considering that 1:5 women born in the 60s hasn't had children, and that it may rise to 1:4 for those born in the 70s, this is a question on which our culture is in collective denial. Not everyone facing middle age without a child chose that outcome and indeed, some of the choosing and not-choosing is rarely clearcut. So it is for Martine, the novel's protagonist. 'On the Far Side, There's a Boy' is an important novel which finally fleshes out the interior world of the 'nomo' (not-mother) and shows how the themes of motherhood-or-not surface in unusual ways in the lives of modern women. She has set a high benchmark, but I hope it encourages other nomos to write their novels too - we need our stories to be heard! ~ Jody Day, Founder, Gateway Women; www.gateway-women.com