The Eye of the Clown – Alexander Crombie

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Set mainly in England in the 1960s, and reflecting some of the attitudes of the time, this compelling story challenges the choice between “difference” and “assimilation”, using the image of a clown as metaphor.

In his debut novel, Become The Wind, Alexander Crombie drew heavily on his experience of sight loss. While The Eye of a Clown is not at all a sequel to Become The Wind, it does have in common, the impact of loss, and the unexpected ways by which loss is dealt with, and ultimately understood.

The author’s protagonists, Ralph and Melanie, each suffer extreme trauma. In Ralph’s case, the agent is fire; in Melanie’s case, the sudden death of her lover threatens to destroy her young life. As the story unfolds, each character is forced to face the mirror of pity as well as pain; yet the novel is far from downbeat.

If Alexander Crombie’s second novel is as well received as his first, this should prove he can entertain while at the same time tackle challenging subjects.

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