TIME TO LET GO by Christoph Fischer

time to let goA 40-year-old airline stewardess (this was back in the time before they were renamed flight attendants) while in flight, checks a bathroom to find a woman dying (or perhaps already dead), and gives CPR until they can land.  The dead woman is the wife of a billionaire, who then threatens to sue both Hannah and the airlines for something or other.  Incompetence?  I am not sure.

She is given compassionate leave by the airlines and goes home to her parents in England.  Her mother has had Alzheimer’s disease, and was diagnosed ten years ago.  Her dad is coping with her on his own, and we find the mother now in the mid stages, usually confused about her surroundings and no longer recognizing any of her family.

Hannah has two brothers, the younger extremely jealous of the older, the older gay and a self-help guru as well as being a musician with a band.  He hasn’t seen the parents in years, and the father, an authoritarian, dictatorial person, does not know his son is gay.

So the book is about living with someone with Alzheimer’s, and about dysfunctional families, and about change.  Hannah is considering giving up flying,  the mother’s disease is forcing change on them all, and how the different members deal with life.

It is OK, not great, but a fast read, a sad story gently told.  The dialog is stiff and unbelievable, but I think that comes from the fact that the author was brought up on the Austrian border in Bavaria, and lived in Hamburg, as well as several places in England, thus English perhaps not being his first language.  All of the writing was fine, just the dialog never quite rang true.

My other cavil is that suddenly as the tale is chugging along, we arrive at an Epilogue where everything is wrapped up pop pop pop.  It was as if the author got tired of showing rather than telling, and just wanted to get the story over with.  OK.  Fine by me, it wasn’t all that compelling of a tale to begin with that I wanted it to go on and on and on.  It was just about a family that we felt sorry for but never really cared about.  You know,  the neighbors down around the corner that we don’t know all that well, just to say hello to?  Yeah, like that.

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