Monday, 16 November 2015

Fling by Lily Iona MacKenzie

When ninety-year-old Bubbles receives a letter from Mexico City asking her to pick up her mother’s ashes, lost there seventy years earlier and only now surfacing, she hatches a plan. A woman with a mission, Bubbles convinces her hippie daughter Feather to accompany her on the quest. Both women have recently shed husbands and have a secondary agenda: they’d like a little action. And they get it.

Alternating narratives weave together Feather and Bubbles’ odyssey. The two women travel south from Canada to Mexico where Bubbles’ long-dead mother, grandmother, and grandfather turn up, enlivening the narrative with their hilarious antics.

From the Goodreads description

This fun read is by fellow member of the Magic Realism Facebook group, Lily Iona MacKenzie. The book is a road journey featuring one old woman and her hippy daughter. The dynamic of their relationship is at the heart of the book. The ninety-year old Bubbles is in many ways a child herself and Feather acts as her mother.
As the chapters flick backwards and forwards in time following Bubbles back to her childhood in Skye and Feather to her adolescence, we come to see the roots not only of the two women's behaviour but also that in some ways the women are not so dissimilar and are following a family pattern. When in the latter part of the novel Bubbles's mother and grandmother turn up, this family dynamic is expanded and further explored. 
Many readers will identify with Feather's feelings of frustration, resentment and love towards her mother. And many will enjoy the comedy and zaniness of Bubbles and her adventures. There are times when the reader might feel that she too has been smoking some of Feather's weed. But the novel is more than just a light-hearted read. Of course there is the daughter/mother relationship to consider. But it is also interesting to note the parallels drawn between the Gaelic beliefs of the family's Scottish roots and those they encounter in Mexico. And what is more there are some delightful references to the magic realist tradition for those if us who care about such things. 

One quibble I have with the book is that at times I found the constant moving between the characters and in time, including point of view within scenes, meant that I lost focus. In a way this disorientation reflects the hallucinatory nature of the story, but it did intrude somewhat into my enjoyment. 

I received this book free from the author in return for a fair review.

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