From the INTERNATIONALLY BESTSELLING AUTHOR of BESIDE MYSELF and READING THE WORLD
Edie finds the world around her increasingly difficult to comprehend. Words are no longer at her beck and call, old friends won’t mind their own business and workmen have appeared in the neighbouring fields, preparing to obliterate the landscape she has known all her life. Rattling around in an old farmhouse on the cliffs, she’s beginning to run out of excuses to stop do-gooders interfering when one day she finds an uninvited guest in the barn and is thrown back into the past.
Jonah has finally made it to England – where everything, he’s been told, will be better. But the journey was fraught with danger, and many of his fellow travellers didn’t make it. Sights firmly set on London, but unsure which way to turn, he is unprepared for what happens when he breaks into Edie’s barn.
Haunted by the prospect of being locked away and unable to trust anyone else, the elderly woman stubbornly battling dementia and the traumatised illegal immigrant find solace in an unlikely companionship that helps them make sense of their worlds even as they struggle to understand each other. Crossing Over is a delicately spun tale that celebrates compassion and considers the transcendent language of humanity.
This is a wonderfully written book about two people each lost in their own world. Edie lives on the family farm. She lives alone seeing her friend Jean now and then. Now in her eighties Edie is not only finding it hard to cope she is getting forgetful or rather she is losing time, losing her grip on where she is in time.
Jonah has finally made it to the U.K. it’s taken such a long time and he has seen some terrible things. Still the thought of, the consequences of staying in his homeland with its poverty, famine and without the kind of opportunity he has dreamed of just about made the journey worth it. Since he broke away from the group crossing over he has worried that they have come after him. Even in the relative safety of the barn he has come upon there is no telling what he might suffer if he is found. His anxiety is high, fearful of being found and memories of the journey he is lost and will do whatever is necessary to stay alive, stay free in order to make it to London where his dreams will be fulfilled.
So it is that we have two protagonists who are so different and yet have much in common. Edie worried about Jean, along with the vicar and doctor, getting her taken into care because she is confused, forgetful retreats into her own world of years ago believing it is reality. Jonah worried about being caught by those who smuggled him over or by the authorities as an illegal immigrant is beset by anxiety, memories of the past and the journey he suffers from confusion. When they finally meet these strange and confusing worlds that they have become entwined with each other. Their relationship is not the easiest but circumstances work to keep them together each serving a purpose for the other.
As we dive further into their lives through their words, various events and memories we come to understand how they got to this point. It is a catastrophic event that begins to bring things to a head and finds them moving on.
This book brings you up close to how it might, how it must feel to be at the start and beyond of loss. There are passages in which you are the one who is beginning to lose control of what is happening, of time, of your critical faculties. How must that feel? When we know someone who has dementia can we really understand what they are going through? Unlikely and yet here the author has written about it in such a way as to bring it to life for the reader to allow the reader, albeit briefly, to live it in their own mind. Feeling the disorientation, the confusion and the fear.
We are also confronted with the story of illegal immigration that of Jonah. We learn what brought him to decide to leave his homeland and make the difficult journey across two continents in order to find a better life, a life that would enable him to live well and financially support his family. That coming to the U.K. would make this possible is what Jonah believes but is it really true? I have my doubts. That the U.K. is hyped as a country that can fulfil such dreams is overplayed.
There is much heartache in the story both in the present and the past. Life can be cruel in many ways and this story does not shy away from painful moments. How Edie is treated by friends and family. How Jonah is treated at home and abroad.
Ann Morgan has written a wonderful book with an amazing story about loss and difference, about the need for empathy, compassion and kindness with sensitivity and skill.
Many thanks to Will at Renard Press for the invitation to join this fantastic blog tour and providing an ARC copy of Crossing Over by Ann Morgan for review purposes.
Like to check out more on Crossing Over by Ann Morgan? Then here’s the full BlogTour information.
Crossing Over at Waterstones Canterbury
Event: Ann Morgan’s haunting new novel, Crossing Over at Waterstones, Canterbury.
Ann Morgan, Crossing Over | 3 May 2023, 6.30pm | Waterstones, Rose Lane, Canterbury.
Click here to book your ticket
Published: Renard Press (29 April 2023) | ISBN: 9781804470220 | 272pp | Paperback
First published in audio format by Audible 2019. Note: some changes have been made by the author from this edition to the print edition.
Buy: Renard Press | Your local independent bookshop | Your local library | Bookshop.org (affiliate link)
The book cover has been designed by Will Dady.
Author: Ann Morgan is an author, speaker and editor based in Folkestone. In 2012, she set herself the challenge of reading a book from every country in a year – a project that led to a TED talk and to the non-fiction book Reading the World: How I Read a Book from Every Country. Her debut novel, Beside Myself, has been translated into eight languages. Crossing Over, her latest novel, draws on her experience living just a few minutes from where many of the small boats crossing the Channel land. She is Literary Explorer in Residence of the Cheltenham Literature Festival for 2022 and 2023.
Website: AnnMorgan | @A_B_MORGAN
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