Mick Jackson's The Widow's Tale is really really good - well in my opinion it is. A widow leaves her house in London and drives to the north Norfolk coast where she rents a cottage. She is never named and the story is written in the first person. There are glimpses into her past life interspersed with her life in the cottage - walking on the saltmarsh, eating in pubs and restaurants, visiting second hand bookshops and drinking - perhaps too much.
The narrator is unsparing of her own and other's faults and there is wry humour and irony in her telling of her tale. Grief and the effect of bereavement are explored. But this is not a sad book by any means and it is ultimately hopeful - the start of a new life with new choices ahead of her. I felt as though I would recognise this woman if I met her - and I would like to meet her. She is very much a character you can imagine standing in front of you and telling you about her life.
I had the feeling that perhaps this book was originally a lot longer and that it has been pared down to its essentials but the shadow of the excised text is still there giving a depth and breadth to the story. This is a strange phenomenon that happens with writing - a piece becomes even stronger because of what has been cut away.
All I can say about this is - read it - and if it doesn't make the Booker Prize longlist I will be surprised.