A Cupboard Full of Coats; Yvvette Edwards
2011 - Whole Story Audio Books
In this story Jinx is a 30 year old woman who is still blaming herself for the murder of her mother by an abusive husband when Jinx was just 16 years old. Jinx now lives alone in London flat, separated from her husband and young son. She does not know how to engage with her young son and seems to lack mothering skills. These days Jinx is more comfortable working with the dead than with the living.
Lemon is a former friend of both Jinx’s mother and Berris, the man who is now in jail for murder. The two men grew up on the streets in the West Indies. After a 14-year absence Lemon shows up without notice at Jinx’s door. His wife has died and he feels the need to come back and talk about why he too blames himself in part for the death . Jinx and Lemon reminisce about the past and also tell their painful versions of the time leading up to the murder as they recall it.
Told mostly in the first person by Jinx, some of what she observed is upsetting and it explained a lot about why she is the way she is today. Lemon’s voice took some getting used to the Caribbean accent. I enjoyed listening to their stories, but I would have liked to learn more about Jinx’s earliest experiences with her own mother. Clearly, none of the characters in this novel were sympathetic, except maybe for Red, the young son, who was missing out on a nurturing relationship with his own mother.
The story alternates between the past and present and gives readers a good look at how children exposed to abusive relationships are affected long term. For Jinx, her mother changed completely when Berris came into the picture. Previously, things were peaceful for mother and daughter, but her mother felt lonely and missed having a man in her life after the death of her husband. Berris entered the picture and she became totally consumed by him at her daughter’s expense. A dark story with no real earth shattering surprise as the end, I enjoyed the story well enough, but the audio version, read by Adjoa Andon, was a tough one to listen to because of the dialect and the subject matter.