Neon in Daylight

by Hermione Hoby

Monday, February 20, 2023

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When you pick up books on the 2 for £5 offer at the garden centre, having looked past the vast quantity of dross there looks to be and picked out a couple that look pretty decent, you hope they’ll be at least passable but you also expect to be disappointed. I think my hit rate at this game is pretty good though, and this was another hit.

This was Hoby’s first novel and it’s got the hallmarks of one in that it’s kind of coming-of-age-ish. Kate’s about 25 which probably makes her a bit old for that kind of thing historically, but she’s fed up with her London life, her boring boyfriend and I think she’s just given up on a PhD which makes her fit pretty well into the coming-of-age genre for modern times. Or maybe I’m just old now!

Kate’s gone to New York, borrowing an apartment, and the book branches out into a story that follows two other characters as well, both of the others are native New Yorkers. After a while you realise that the various tracks of the story are on a collision course. The book is beautifully written from the beginning and I realised that my opinion of the book was going to end up revolving around how the author pulled off the collision, or if it was avoided entirely. I was happy in the end, the resolution didn’t work out how I expected which was good, and the author didn’t try to resolve everything at once.

By way of criticism there was a minor character who played a pivotal role who I would have liked to have seen more of, but that was mostly the way of the book, a lot of minor characters came and went and I’d have liked to see more of them. But that might have detracted from the central characters and I liked the concentration on them. It was a read that I enjoyed and I’ll look out for the author again.