Short takesby Louise O'Brien
THE MEETING POINT (Faber and Faber, $39.99), a likeable second novel from Lucy Caldwell, gains much of its interest from the stark juxtaposition of difference. Ruth and Euan take their young daughter and set off to the Middle East to be missionaries, moving from a dairy farm in Ireland to a walled compound in Bahrain, from the lovingly detailed “rowan coppice down by the ancient rath burbling their liquid songs and the waters of the lough calm and shining silver” to the arid and endless desert. The Christian mission of the Idealistic and passionately devout Euan is set against his young wife’s increasing doubts – about her faith as well as her husband and marriage. For Ruth, the contrasts of place, language and culture she is suddenly exposed to open up the exciting possibilities of other lives. It’s this clash of cultures that lifts Caldwell’s tale of a desperate housewife – saturated with biblical parables and religious allegory – from the mundane.
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