The News Where You Are is yet another book about a middle-aged man coming to terms with what it means to get older. Well sort of. Either I keep being drawn to these books because of the theme or (more likely) I see this theme everywhere because of my stage of life.
Frank Allcroft is a local news presenter with an apparent penchant for bad jokes in his links. He also takes an interest in some of those he’s reported on – specifically those who die alone. One such passing appears to be linked with his friend and predecessor who died in a hit-and-run accident, and Frank is drawn into finding out more about what actually happened.. Meanwhile the buildings his father architect put up in the 60s are one by one being pulled down.
This is an odd book. On the one hand I want to say that it’s a light read because it’s easy to read and has a gentle humour and is well-disposed towards its characters. On the other it is about death and loss and what, if anything, we leave behind. On the on hand it’s clearly structured around a kind of mystery plot (why and how did this person die), but on the other it’s not particularly plot driven and takes time out of the whodunnit to look at Frank’s family relationships and so on.
The characters are well-drawn and sympathetic. Mo, Frank’s daugther is the perfect picture of a particular type of precocious child who is entirely endearing without ever being sentimental. As is, in a completely different way, his mother.
I think it is a good read but it slightly left me wanting something a bit more to get my teeth into. Also it had about 3 attempts at an ending. However given that the chapters are short that’s really a minor quibble.
7/10 – a light read which never takes its darker themes too lightly or too seriously.