Thursday, 7 November 2019

Echo Hall, by Virginia Moffatt

Echo HallEcho Hall by Virginia Moffatt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

War destroys families and drives friends apart. But it doesn’t take a war to wreck lives, drive a wedge between husbands and wives and bring a premature end to any hope of happiness. And sometimes it’s not your enemies who inflict most harm, but those closer to home.

Echo Hall echoes with unhappiness, and though world events in the form of three wars account for most of it, the ultimate tragedy arises not from man’s universal inhumanity to man but the domestic bitterness that bubbles and flares and destroys individuals.

I must confess having taken a while to get into this book. I must also admit to skimming some of the epistolary passages which seemed to contain just a little too much detail for my need to get on with the story. But it was worth the effort, if only to realise the haunting symmetry of lives and loves across the generations.

‘Empires rise and empires fall’ as Moffatt says towards the end of the book. And Echo Hall sets the personal cycle of individual birth, life and death against a century of history, where even the empires that survive are utterly transformed.

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