I was fortunate to meet Kathy Joyce at a local book signing where she kindly gave me a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review. ‘Thicker Than Soup’ is published by Troubador on 28th June 2015.
‘Thicker Than Soup’ follows the lives of Sally and John as they struggle to juggle careers and their relationship through the difficult times of Thatcher’s 1980’s Britain. Events lead them physically and emotionally into their pasts to try to discover who they really are.
‘Thicker Than Soup’ is a really interesting debut novel. Kathy Joyce gives the reader an incredible insight, particularly into life in Pakistan and she weaves an engaging story. I’m certain the author’s own experiences have added a real depth to her descriptions and it is the small details like ‘piles of shiny peppers’ that create a strong visual image.
‘Thicker Than Soup’ is written with compassion as, in a twisting plot, Kathy Joyce explores adoption, abandonment, redundancy, culture, race, HIV and the basic human need for love. The reader is moved as they read. There are immense themes here. I couldn’t decide if I found the end of the novel profoundly sad or profoundly optimistic and I think that’s part of the success of the writing – the sense that life isn’t straight forward and that we sometimes make choices that reverberate a long way into the future.
Initially, I didn’t particularly warm to John, despite the fact that the novel opens with him being wronged by Sally, but as I came to know about his background and to understand his insecurities I found him much more engaging and deserving of empathy.
Alongside highly competent story telling, an aspect that really brought the novel alive for me was the reference to food. Chapters are headed by dishes and I became increasingly hungry as I read! When or if you’ve read the novel you’ll understand why I have the overwhelming urge for a slice of banana cake!