Monday, 11 March 2013

Irish Fiction Month Review: Maria Duffy - The Terrace

St Enda's Terrace, nestled in the heart of Dublin city, is like any other closeknit community - there's the newly-weds planning on having a baby; the single mother raising her children on her own; the upwardly mobile couple who bought in the height of the boom, and the long-timers to whom everyone goes for advice.

But behind every closed door, there are secrets. And when the street syndicate wins the national lottery, but the ticket is nowhere to be found, these neighbours are about to discover just how much has been kept hidden...

As friendships and relationships are put to the test in the search for the missing ticket, the residents of St Enda's learn that, while good times might come and go, good friends are forever.

As a follower of Maria Duffy on Twitter, I first heard about The Terrace last year when it was first published in Trade paperback and really liked the sound of the story so added it into my Amazon wishlist ready for the regular paperback publication in January.  But this was one book I could remove as I was lucky enough to win a copy of it in one of the Twitter competitions Maria ran on publication day.

The Terrace follows the lives of everyday people, on an everyday street, who are all looking forward to the arrival of an American TV company who are planning to record a documentary about their close-knit friendly community.  They want to see what exactly makes this street so special...

But Maggie & Dan, Lorraine, Marco, Rita and Majella have another reason to be excited as they realise that their syndicate numbers have been called and they've won the jackpot... the problem is no-one can remember taking the slip and playing the numbers. 

Tensions soon flare and the close neighbours begin to turn on each other at the realisation that if they cannot find the ticket then they stand the chance of losing a life-changing amount of money.  Will they be able to put up a united front for the TV company and just who has the winning lottery ticket?

I really liked the concept of close friends sharing a life-changing experience and enjoyed the fact that as the story unfolded you got to find out more about each of the friends and their stories.  But I have to say that Maggie was my favourite character as she was very much the glue that held them all together... always ready with a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on but who's there for her when she needs help?    

It is quite rare nowadays to find some a close-knit community...certainly in my own experience since moving to the city I can sometimes go days without even seeing any of my neighbours... although this can be seen as a plus sign as sometimes you might not want your neighbours knowing all of your business!

I also enjoyed the twists and turns of the story following the mysterious lottery ticket and just who had bought it and what had they done with it and although I did predict how it would end, it didn't spoil the story for me.   

I've not read Maria Duffy's debut novel, Any Dream Will Do, but after enjoying reading this book it's now been added it onto my wishlist to read at some stage in the future.

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