Gill Hornby has a new novel out! Hooray! Her debut novel, The Hive (review), became one of the books I most frequently recommended and gave to friends. It perfectly encapsulated the microcosm of mothers of school-aged children. It was something my friends and I could relate to.
I knew with All Together Now, I would be a little out of my depth. It recounts the politics and struggles of a small town choir struggling for membership. Not exactly my scene, but Hornby does a decent job of making the characters come to life and making it interesting.
Hornby’s real strength lies in her characters. She picks people in your life and brings them to life on the page – sometimes to cringe-worthy results. In All Together Now, there was one character who reminded me so much of an acquaintance of mine that I could barely take it anymore! She also manages to bring a fairly diverse cast of characters together in this choir. My one complaint there is that I can’t recall any person of colour (although she does have a teen in a wheelchair and a burgeoning lesbian romance).
Who would like this book? Hornby is all about social satire. She takes a microcosm, this time a choir, and fleshes out all the characters who come together to make the whole. I would guess that All Together Now will resonate more with those who are actually in a choir, just as The Hive rang all my bells as a stay-at-home mom. Because Hornby is British, the book also has some quirky moments of life in Britain.