Little Bandaged Days by Kyra Wilder ★★★★☆
Published : 23rd January 2020
Publisher : PanMacmillan
Format : Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre : Contemporary fiction
A mother moves to Geneva with her husband and their two young children.
In their beautiful new rented apartment, surrounded by their rented furniture, and several Swiss instructions to maintain quiet, she finds herself totally isolated. Her husband’s job means he is almost never present, and her entire world is caring for her children – making sure they are happy, and fed and comfortable, and that they can be seen as the happy, well-fed, comfortable family they should be. Everything is perfect.
But, of course, it’s not. The isolation, the sleeplessness, the demands of two people under two, are getting to Erika. She has never been so alone, and once the children are asleep, there are just too many hours to fill until morning...
Thank you so much PanMacmillan for this beautiful copy.
This book was wrote in a style that I haven't read in quite some time.
It is almost like a diary, without the dates added. With no names mentioned, just an initial for every family member, you read from the mums perspective through the entry story.
In the beginning the mum, dad and two children move to Geneva for the husbands work. Relocated and up rooted from a lovely home to a small cramped apartment in a cement block building. Almost instantly the husband M, is rushed off to work leaving mum and baby boy B and little girl E to get settled in.
As the days go by the mum tries to make everything normal, smiling at her children all the time, playing in the park behind the building with the new Swiss toys and making sure everything is perfect for when M comes home.
But more and more she is alone with only the children, feeling lost in a country she doesn't know the language to and no one to have conversation with other then baby talk.
M works away for days at a time, gets up early and comes hone very late, sometimes smelling of perfume and smoke, there is a hint of infidelity but I wasn't sure if this was mums paranoia or reality.
As the book progresses it becomes obvious that there is some sort of depression there, always cleaning, needing to stay in the flat with the shutters down, when she does go out she just wants to be home again with just her and the children, waiting up till very late for M to come home and eat as a family, even though he often doesn't and the food spoils.
She doesn't sleep, things get done around the apartment that she doesn't realise she has done where she is so sleep deprived and she finds herself crying and wanting to scream just to fill a void of silence.
This is a heart breaking story of a mother struggling to cope alone at home all day whilst the husband works longer and longer hours, a mum who's home life with her children is deteriorating and she feels like she is drowning in her own mind, but desperately convinces herself that when her husband comes home everything will be all right and the world will make sense again.
Through out the book there are the occasional chapters wrote in cursive writing, I get the impression these are from her, fast forward in a facility, this is never confirmed and I did get a little confused at the end as to what defiantly happened and where she ended up, but on the whole I found this a fascinating read.
Just goes to show that the persona we present to every else is not exactly what we are feeling on the inside.
My heart really went out to the mum, all she needed was a friend to talk to and a supportive husband that came home and shared the parental duties and general anxieties of being in a completely new country, I felt if she had these then she would have coped a lot better. I also felt really sad for the children, especially the little girl who watched daily her mother falling apart and acting strange and sometimes scary. I found myself quite tensed towards the end. We all try to put a brave face on for our children when we are struggling but this went to the next extreme and it was very sad to read, but also an eye opener to how we can feel we are ok with life but then before you know it, it all creeps up on you and its to much.
A chilling must read.
Meet the author...
Kyra Wilder is a first-time novelist who received her BA and MA in English Literature at San Francisco State University, where she then worked under Michael Tusk at the Michelin-starred Quince, making pasta.
She continued working in restaurants in New York, before moving with her family to Switzerland, where she is now based.
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