Review Blog

May 10 2012

The hum of concrete by Anna Solding

cover image

Midnight Sun, 2012. ISBN 9780987226501.
This is a most intriguing novel, covering so many issues of the modern world that it leaves one reeling after the surprisingly personal ending. In a series of short anecdotes, that weave in and out of different lives, Solding takes us into the homes and minds of a range of characters whose lives converge in unexpected ways.
Solding's setting is Malmo, in modern Sweden, yet the speech of the characters rings with Australian vernacular, 'see ya' making me feel quite at home with certain characters. Her link to an Australian lover for one of the women, who is quite happy with her profession and life until she forms an unexpected relationship with this man, ties back to this country and seems to happily match the speech patterns.
Covering a wide range of families and situations, Solding places us in the homes of new migrants from Africa, revealing the shock of public semi-nudity for Muslims almost as an affront, yet she has the characters work through this as one of the settling-in acceptances necessary to live in this new cold land. Friendships formed, lovers found, gay relationships happily normalised - all are woven seamlessly into this perceptive construction of a current multi-cultural world where we are learning to understand the myriad ways of being human.
Told in many different voices, and in different ways, this story is ultimately a satisfying reading experience that offers hope for a more tolerant world and the challenge to meet others where they are, rather than remaining smugly satisfied with our own lot in life.  
Elizabeth Bondar

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