The Pursuit of Ordinary by Nigel Jay Cooper has an intriguing scenario. Dan, a homeless man, witnesses an accident in which a man dies cradled in his wife’s arms. After that he appears to be possessed by the spirit of the man. The man’s wife even allows him into her home. That can’t happen can it…
I found the writing vivid. Dan and Joe – the man who died are having conversations. They (!) turn up on Natalie’s doorstep. Via a rather odd three way conversation they seem to convince her that Joe is her deceased husband. So far, so strange. By the end of the first chapter I thought that it probably wasn’t really my kind of book though the pace and writing were fine.
The next chapter looks at the story through Natalie’s eyes. It became far more interesting and even sinister. From then on I would not have stopped reading it. There was obviously far more to this story that seemed the case initially. The voices alternate mostly between Dan and Natalie.
I found The Pursuit of Ordinary something of a roller coaster. Bits I really enjoyed and other parts I found somewhat frustrating. At times it felt a bit “chick lit”, at times it had real depth to it. Within chapters the time line switches from present to past and back with no sign posting. The story is repeated quite often from the different perspectives. I found this confused and confusing sometimes.
Whatever else this is not an “ordinary” book. I dislike spoilers so I’m giving nothing away other than to say that I admire the author for trying this story out. I found the reading journey interesting and I’m sure other will too. The characters didn’t leave me fully convinced I think but they were not at all bad. I’m honestly not sure what rating to give this even after reflecting on it. I don’t think it is just a three star read then neither do I think it is a four. I’ll settle on 3.5/5 and say that I’d happily read another by this author.
Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review