Today is the review of the final Costa Book Awards shortlisted novel and I have learned at the end of this that the Costa jury likes reading complicated narrative plots that play with characters, time and space.
At Hawthorn Time isn't an exception to this rule. Again, we get several different narrators, but this time we get the event that brings them all together at the beginning of the story. A car crash on a small country road in England brings together some very different characters that are connected to the small town, but all so very unlike at the same time. The prologue is written in the second person, really meant to draw the reader in and to prepare them for what is coming, which is very enjoyable. Being approached by the narrator, an ominous third person at that point, enhances the reader's investment in the story at the beginning.
However, that investment slowly went downhill for me. I feel like I'm critiquing in the same way as with The Green Road again, but it is just a fact for me that switching between characters a lot makes a book harder to read. Even though I liked the plot, none of the characters sticked with me or left a very big impression. There is the unhappily married couple, the vagabond, and a young man trying to connect to his grandfather. All the characters seem well-rounded and there was so much to their stories, but there was no way to discover all of it with the constant narrative jumps. The writing is that amazing that it gives the reader enough to continue reading, even in the spam of a couple of pages, but I just really wanted more depth to the characters, especially since the plot is so driven on those characters bring on the main event.
Overall, At Hawthorn Time was a very intriguing read. The beginning makes you immediately curious as to what could happen next in the story and it gives a great push to continue reading. However, my interest slowly faded towards the end of the book and when the final climax came, I just wasn't that impressed with it. The writing is beautiful and the plot well crafted, but I really wish I could have spend more time with all the characters.