The Old Joke, by Reina James

Mim Lyons is a retired film actor - she was "big" in her day but hasn't made any films for decades. At the start of this book, she's approached by her agent who wants her to take a part in a film: she initially turns it down but her husband thinks it might be a good idea. The books written in the first person, from Mim's point of view.

Picked this up from the library - more or less at random but I was influenced by the fact that the audiobook was read by the same person as had read my previous audiobook, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death.

I'm not sure what genre this book falls into. I did like it though: I liked the way that characters are dropped in with no preamble and you're trying to work out who they are e.g. "When I came home, Poppy and Rolf were at the table" - no more explanation is given, you just get dropped into a converstation between them all and you gradually work out who they are (and what their gender is).

Similarly, you don't actually find out the main character's name for a while - her husband calls her "Missus" and although she gets called "Mim" by Poppy (or Rolf), it's not until quite a way through that you find her name is Miriam Lyon/Shaw (Shaw is her maiden and stage name, but you deduce rather then get told this))

She's an unreliable narrator in that you slowly realise she's not that nice a person - her descriptions of other people's failings start off sounding plausible but over time it becomes clear that she's the one with the problems the reader notices this and she doesn't (well, at first anyway).

In fact she does seem to becone a bit more self aware later in the book, so it wasn't a simple case of her being a nasty person and oblivious to it: she's not wrong in thinking that other people behave badly to her. Overall I liked the way that there was this ambiguity about things although I'm not exactly sure what the book was trying to say.

Some passages on dementia were very good.

Enjoyed this and would read it again.

Completed : 21-March-2016 (audiobook)

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