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Fire and water - Hayley Long

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Fire and water
Hayley Long
Paperback / softback
UK Publication Date

A lively account of a 31 year-old woman's bitter-sweet reflections on student and working days in Aberystwyth in the 1980s and 1990s, in particular her relationship with the lead singer of a rock band, as she returns home to Felixstowe on the train.

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Hayley Long?s novel tells of her narrator?s thirteen years of living in the Welsh coastal town of Aberystwyth, where she meets Jonny and his band and where she is fascinated by the music shop on the hill that is never open, a Pandora?s box of second-hand vinyl records that she would love to add to her already large collection.
The album from which the title is taken, a song by the band Free, is gathering dust in the shop?s window.

This is a very funny and clever book where young lives cross over and affect each other in an intense and momentary way.
The characters are presented beautifully, and through her use of lively, sharp dialogue it is impossible not to laugh at some of the interactions that being the girlfriend of a lead singer involves.
?It was the car that helped me get him.
Despite my initial contempt for its triangles and colour schemes, I soon grew to be as fixated with the car as I was with its owner.?

Long has a remarkable way of relating her characters to the reader.
Even her final train journey back home to England becomes an adventure when she is nearly dragged into a fight with two young women ? ?Bulldog and Donna Karan? ? and she inadvertently discovers another?s past by finding a letter left behind in a diary on the train. ?For a second, I am not sure if I am moving backwards or her train is moving forwards. I put my face close to the glass and peer downwards.
The platform is still. It is she who is moving on.?

Long?s structuring throughout is cleverly creative, her final train journey intertwined in each chapter with her memories of those years with Jonny and Aberystwyth.
For music fans and Aberystwyth dwellers alike, this is a very funny account of young lives in transition.
It has a gripping and impulsive style, engaging to the last page.
Clare Maynard @

Keyword Index
Popular music fans - Fiction.|Students - Wales - Aberystwyth - Fiction.|Aberystwyth (Wales) - Fiction.
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