Van has finished reading…The Museum Of Things Left Behind by Seni Glaister

24 Apr

The latest instalment in the Curtis Brown Book Group takes me to the delights of a little-visited European enclave. Endless free education; tea on tap; truly stunning scenery: I think I want to move to Vallerosa! Of course it’s not quite as simple as that. There are issues aplenty lurking in the valley’s folds just waiting for something – or someone – to come along and usher them out into the light of day.

It’s the slightest of misunderstandings that precipitate events and push so many characters out of their comfort zones. Take a look at the cast involved, from the President and his ministers all the way down to Remi-Post (guess what he does for a living) and it’s easy to see why I was instantly reminded of those old Peter Sellers films like The Mouse That Roared where he played half the roles himself. What follows is funny and charming without meandering into the fluff of sentimentality. It’s eminently readable and I was genuinely quite annoyed when I had to get off the train with just two pages left. There are some surprising turns too, and the seeming lightness of the tale sets off some serious points quite brilliantly. Time is such an important motif, I’d urge you to allow yourself plenty of it just to think about all the little preconceptions that melt away as you read on through.

You might expect the mention of cliché to be a negative thing in a book review, but I think Seni Glaister’s been rather clever in the application of the tool with this story, for it’s as much about the effects of those preconceptions as any number of other things. A mind quickly made up in Vallerosa is a mind that barely sees the peaks of the mountains. Indeed, a mind slowly made up is as wont to be oblivious (in the true sense of the word) to the wider situation. The fact that the eponymous edifice appears infrequently in the book is clue enough to its intended wider application.

So much is taken for granted in our lives that it sometimes takes the mirror of outside influence for us to see the grand scale of such small oversights – to see the things can and really should change. And sometimes the mirror of outside influence is the last thing we should seek!

And those characters. I can well imagine an audience really getting behind cheering a hero and hissing and booing at a villain. Okay, so it’s not all as clear-cut as that, but the point is they’re so easy to engage with. You’ll want this or that to happen; you’ll be ready to shout ‘look behind you’ when you really don’t want it to. You’ll be rooting for each and every one of them at some point or other, or else shaking your head and smiling at the ridiculousness of it all. Yes, Dario and Piper, I’m talking to you!

Oh, and I might be in love with Pavel’s mother, even though she’s there for barely a page.

Pick it up for your holiday read (the quirky title, the pastel-coloured cover must surely beckon the airport browsers). Pick it up for your commute to work, for your bedside table, for wherever. Just so long as you pick it up!


2 Responses to “Van has finished reading…The Museum Of Things Left Behind by Seni Glaister”


  1. The Inaugural Curtis Brown Book Group – my first six months as a #CBBookGroupie | vanisreading - 01/07/2015

    […] The Museum Of Things Left Behind by Seni Glaister […]

  2. The #CBBookGroupie playlist | vanisreading - 09/02/2016

    […] Theme, The Museum Of Things Left Behind by Seni […]

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