'Face to Face with' ~ Geraint Ellis

It’s Never Goodbye

An Exploration of Love, as Four Women and Two Men embark on a voyage of Self-Discovery

A ‘Rags to Riches’ story? In one sense it is. There’s certainly a whiff of ‘Great Expectations’, but it transpires that the riches are anything but monetary.

Soon after World War 2, an unforeseen calamity throws together two young boys from widely differing backgrounds. One is wild and impetuous, the other – who narrates, is more restrained and lives largely in the world of his imagination. Despite their differences, they become lifelong friends.

Set mostly in the 1970’s, the two are now forty-something happily married academics. Their fun-loving attitude to life persists. And they still frequently lapse into the world of sexual fantasy. But they fight their pre-programmed inclination to have sex with all women who fit their template of desirability and concentrate instead on the nature of true love.

Does love happen at first sight? Or is it something that grows over a long period of time? Can one genuinely fall in love both ways during one lifetime? And if one can, then why shouldn’t one have two wives instead of one? And what of the secret feelings of one of the men for his best friend’s mother? Love outside one’s age group – younger, older. Can it be? If so, how? (Couldn’t Pip have fallen for Miss Havisham?) And who in the final outcome will be able to explain the true nature of unconditional love?

Meanwhile, unbeknown to either man, the wives also have very firm views on the direction their own lives should take. And how is it that the women are ahead on almost all counts? And what will be the result of accepting into their circle the beautiful student Julia? - A person who not only prefers the company of people older than herself but, through her observations and quietly discerning nature, soon knows more than she dare reveal …

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The action of the novel revolves around the agendas of Four Women and Two Men. Each of them believes their perspective true, complete. Yet no individual ever has the Complete Truth; only a constituent part. Even the narrator’s knowledge is limited this way …

To the Whole Picture, only the Reader is initiated …

Next : Ioan Gruffudd