The Journey by Nicholas Hill
My initial thoughts on picking up this book were that it’s another sweet little British novel. And I guess it is sweet in a way, but honestly, I hated this book (though I always respect the sheer amount of work and effort that goes into writing a book!). It’s about people I don’t care about because their actions make no sense, complete with an ending that ties off every loose end and sets everyone up for a lifetime of joy and good living.
Let’s set this up. Simon is a middle-aged luxury car salesman. You will learn this early on, with far too many detailed descriptions about luxury cars. One of his kids, the good son, works with him selling luxury cars. The lousy son is a slob who can’t get his life together, but everyone’s giving him room to figure it out. Simon’s wife loves her horse more than she loves Simon, but they have a lovely house, and what’s more, on the opening night of this novel, she’s ready to repair their relationship and make the most of their beautiful life.
And then — spoiler alert — she dies, and everything falls apart, including accusations of money laundering and infidelity, creepy and inappropriate sex, a lot of crying, a move to the middle of nowhere to live a weird double life, and so, so much sexual innuendo. I am not a prude by any means, but this book is less fun-sexy and more please-make-my-parents-stop-making-sex-jokes. A character at the end asks why everyone is so sex-obsessed, and that’s a good question for the entire book.
I don’t think I’m the target audience for The Journey, and the more I think about the plot, the more unsettled and grossed out I feel. An older reader who wants to live out a fantasy of stately homes, sex with much younger people, finding a beautiful woman in a run-down bar who wants to live with you, and driving multiple luxury cars (SO MANY LUXURY CARS) might be more into it.
I, for one, got that awkward ‘hanging out listening to my parents’ friends try to reclaim their youth’ feeling, and I’m not even a teenager anymore.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.