A photo is taken at a street party in 1977, for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. The photo tells you a lot about life then. The patriotism of the United Kingdom as flags flutter, the tables with food, including the Coronation Chicken which came to be 25 years earlier. In the midst of this photo is a small Asian boy. Does the photo show how much has changed culturally in that time? Or does the photo not tell a story at all? Does any photo tell you the real story.
30 years later, a reunion photograph is about to happen but for those involved including the small Asian boy, life has turned out very differently and perhaps the past is best left where it was.
That small Asian boy has grown up into a well-known and well-respected Cardiologist, but he is holding a current secret that he cannot possibly let anyone know about. There is also the secret of what happened just before that photograph was taken 30 years previously.
As readers we are not aware of the secret that was behind the photograph, Shelley Harris, builds the story between the present and the past as everything unravels. I kept reading at this point because I was unaware of what possibly could have happened and when I did get to the denouement for want of a better description I was left somewhat adrift. I had been built up to expect one thing and got something entirely different.
Was I disappointed? Initially yes, but upon reflection no. Whilst the photo might have been trying to tell one story, the truth behind it was very different and probably not as surprising. And that made me sad.
The photo told only one story, a moment caught, the build up and the aftermath is the real story. Now as you look at photos representing our nation now. What do we see?
A reserved and restrained novel, rather like its main theme. A thoughtful read.