Published: MacMillan Australia
Date: 28th September 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
When Mim Squires and Mathias Vander are stranded together on a disrupted flight home to Perth, they are surprised to find that they have much in common. Mim owns a bookshop, Mathias is a writer, and both are at turning points in their lives. Mim’s childhood polio is taking a toll on her life. Mathias is contemplating a cross-continent move to be nearer his daughter.
But life back in Perth is not smooth sailing, with their respective family members going through their own upheavals. As Mim and Mathias both struggle to adjust to the challenges of being in their late seventies, secrets from the past that neither wishes to face rise to the surface, challenging their long-held beliefs in their independence and singularity.
In At The End of the Day we meet two main characters, Mim and Mathias. They are both in their seventies and have led full lives, yet for both of them there are unresolved issues that shadow their present day happiness. The story explores who they are now, who they have been and who they might (or might not) become now.
I liked both these characters. Mim as a child had polio and now has a post polio syndrome that leaves her often tired and in pain. Mathias is a bit of a recluse but he likes to be around his daughter and is experiencing present day loss around his oldest friend. They are both facing into the later stage of life and exploring how they might live it fully and happily.
We also meet Alice – Mim’s sister and the exploration of sisterhood and the realisation that up until now they have not really understood each other and their misconceptions. Mim has a wonderful friend considerably younger than her and Matthias has a daughter. Together they find their way through new relationships to something completely new.
I really liked the final resolution of the book, there is a note of hope and future possibilities. People who could have become set in what has been, change and adjust to challenges, and reach for what makes them happy. There is a recognition of our need for each other and that while independence is important, so is allowing others to reach out to us.
Thank you to Liz Byrski for facing into her own challenges to complete another thought provoking and engaging read.