Miriam is twenty-nine: temping, living with a flatmate who is no longer a friend, and still trying to find her place in life. She falls in love with Erik after he employs her to clear out his paper-packed home.
They are worlds apart: he is forty-five, a successful photographer and artist and an obsessive hoarder still haunted by the end of his marriage. Miriam has an unsuccessful love life and has just got rid of most of her belongings.
Somehow, they must find a way to reach each other.
Reading this book was like reading poetry (except I enjoyed doing it), there isn’t a single thing about this book which isn’t beautiful. It’s terribly sad in parts but you can only sit back and enjoy the elegance of the author’s writing.
We read this story from the perspective of Miriam, a young woman whose life isn’t where she thought or hoped it would be at 29. She doesn’t have a stable career, a partner or even any friends – she lives her life day by day, without any satisfaction.
To make things clear here, a career, boyfriend and friends are things that she actually wants – there’s no assumption that these are things that every single 29 year old woman needs to be happy.
After a bad day at her temp job, Miriam throws out almost all of her sparse worldly goods so she can build a new identity. Trouble is, she doesn’t know who she wants to be.
The following Monday, she visits the house of Erik for work – a 45 year old man who is just starting to admit to himself that he has a hoarding problem. They’re on the opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to their living habits, but they’re both lost souls who need a connection, in whatever form that might take.
You need to read this book for yourself to find out the story and pick up on the nuances, but the parts that I enjoyed the most were the conflicts between the two characters who desperately need to connect but can’t understand how the other half lives, so to speak.
The beautiful writing is what lifts this story up to a 5 star review for me, it’s so hopeful and moving. I’m not normally one for the mushy stuff, but this book really did make a great impression on me – it’s definitely going on the rainy day bookshelf to be re-read in future.