The lives of three women become intrinsically linked through a set of circumstances beyond their control. The way they handle the changes, the chance encounters and the choices they make all impact their future and how they are seen by others.
Strange Girls and Ordinary Woman is very much a book driven by its characters. It is very languorous in its pace and not very much actually happens. Although, on reflection, a lot actually does; the book is laden with affairs, the sultry and seedy nightlife of the world of stripping, religious integrity, travel yet it all seems very calm and composed – reflective, almost.
However, what is inarguable is the strength of its three leading ladies – Alice, Vic and Kaya. Alice discovers her own strength when the shackles of a loveless marriage make her take stand and account for herself as an individual. Vic learns to stop judging others by the standards that she sets for herself. And Kaya learns to allow herself to be loved – or at least that is the optimistic slant that I am placing on its ambiguous but hopeful ending.
Out of all the characters, it is the chameleon like Kaya who is the most interesting. She is misunderstood by so many of the other characters within the narrative that you genuinely want to protect her and see her get something good from life. It is almost heartbreaking that she seems to hit hurdle after hurdle, life constantly throwing bad things in her way.
Strange Girls and Ordinary Women isn’t a light read but it is effortless in its lyrical style. You do become swallowed up whole by the story and I will admit that I lost myself for a few hours between the pages. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to those who like character driven novels.
Strange Girls and Ordinary Women by Morgan McCarthy is available now.