Thursday, 9 September 2010

Cecelia Ahern: The Gift

Lou Suffern is practised in the art of concealment. He is, also, always overstretched, trying to do too many things at once. His overburdened schedule gives him few moments of peace, even in his sleep. And when he spends time at home with his wife and family, he is always distracted, and, mentally, somewhere else. On a cold winter morning, Lou is on his way to work when he encounters Gabe, a homeless street dweller, sitting outside an office building. Lou is intrigued by him, and contrives to get him a job in the post room. But this act of charity rebounds on him, and Gabe’s presence begins to grate on Lou -- particularly when he discovers that the latter seems capable of being in two places at the same time. Christmas is drawing near, and before the season is over, Lou’s life will be irrevocably change by the casual act of kindness he has performed.

Although this seems to be a Christmas story and is set around Christmas, it actually is timeless. It's a great story about love, about juggling life and work, about being everywhere at the same time. The conflicts between Lou and Ruth but also between Lou and his work colleagues are very realistic and help the reader identify with the characters. Although Lou is rather unlikable and egotistic it becomes obvious that he genuinely tries to do what he thinks is the best for his family.

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