Ahern’s twelfth novel, The Marble Collector is overall a light but enjoyable read. Ahern skillfully interlinks differing timelines and narratives, maintaining a level of intrigue throughout. What I found to be of particular enjoyment was her reflections on an Irish family living in near poverty during the 1970s. Ahern lends an interesting insight into a typical family filled with boys, where fighting and violence is abundant, but ever underlined with love.
The impressive levels of detail into marbles within the novel is also surprisingly interesting. In place of the modern-age technologically driven children’s toys, is a world of beautiful simplicity, offering a myriad of games, collections and enjoyment. From bloodies to Czech bullets, it’ll soon have you rooting through old drawers and putting those glass balls to some use other than a potential ‘Home Alone’ burglar trap.
Whilst effectively written in a technical sense, a fundamental flaw with this novel was unfortunately it’s key premise. The character motivations and gradual revelations are well considered, however the basis for them simply aren’t entirely convincing. There are numerous clichés and a few poorly considered plot explanations which leave more questions than answers.
Despite this, Ahern has still produced an entertaining novel, one which simply needs to be taken with a spoonful of sugar.
Length: 287 (Harper Collins)
Overall Rating: 3 stars
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