Title: The Pools
Author: Bethan Roberts
Publisher: Serpent’s Tail
Published: 29 August 2007
Bethan Roberts has started her literary career with a disturbing tale of Middle England, mid-1980s when the death of a teenager, Robert, is the inevitably conclusion to the paths of many lives.
This is a hard book to pin down. Beth rebuilds the events that lead up to Robert’s death but she goes further than that. She dismembers them. She gets under the skin of the narrators as she retraces the steps.
This is not a who dunnit. It’s not even a why dunnit. It’s story of life and how our characters might be natured as well as nurtured and how we can’t escape from what is in our hearts.
I wish that Roberts wasn’t so honest in her portrayal. I was she’d been more writery so that the story isn’t as brutal as it is. But she doesn’t flinch and she doesn’t pull her punches. She confronts the confusion we experience as we find out who we are and maybe face the realisation that we can’t escape what we done or perhaps the effect that our parents have on us.
Overall, Bethan has created a challenging novel that delves deep into the pools inside each one of us and it makes you question your own decisions. It also makes you thankful that you still have choices. An outstandingly insightful début.
Now OOP but you can still read it via ebook