The Loss Adjustor – Aifric Campbell

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent’s Tail (25 Feb 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 1846687306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846687303
  • The Loss Adjustor is a beautifully written novel, its quietness and understated tone belie a great powerhouse of emotions such as passion, regret and how heavily the past weighs upon our shoulders.

    Caro (Caroline) Fraser spends her working life assessing the losses of others in her job as a loss adjustor.  Ironically she has never addressed the major losses in her own life, the sudden death of her father when she was twelve, the emotional loss of her mother who withdraws following her husband’s death, the loss of two of her closest childhood friends, Estelle and Cormac.  Post-adolescence, Caro has learned to steel herself against any possible emotional attachments and she leads a solitary, bland existence as a result.  However, change is on the horizon in the unlikely shape of pensioner, Tom, and his feisty jack russell, Jack who have also experienced loss but are now willing to face the past.

    The Loss Adjustor is an absolute delight to read, absolutely every single word counts and the use of the first person and the present tense adds to this feeling of immediacy, economy and directness.   I found myself rooting for Caro to be happy, to take that risk and engage with life instead of living in the past.  The author recreates the past very well, capturing the innocence of childhood, the trauma of teenage years, the ups and downs of friendships, showing how the past has moulded Caro into her present emotionally bereft state, frozen in place and haunted by the ghosts of the past.  Her childhood friends, Estelle and Cormac, now absent from her life, are actually very vividly presented and you realise what a huge impact they had on her life. 

    I do not recall a time when I did not feel my friends’ presence on either side of me.  I do not remember a single moment when I experienced the solitariness that could have come with being an only child.  From the earliest days I was part of both their families and wandered in and out at will.

    The story moves from loss to guilt and ends on a note of redemption.  This is Aifric’s second novel and with such engaging, elegant writing, I am sure that she will go from strength to strength with future novels.

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