Janice Galloway (1999) The Trick Is To Keep Breathing.
Posted by celticman on Mon, 14 Apr 2014
The title comes from a fragment near the end of the book and relates to swimming and life. Joy, the narrator, is a twenty-seven year old schoolteacher. She teaches drama, but in life she keeps fluffing her lines. She’s not quite sure about anything and, in this her first book, the experienced reader looks for clues to Galloway’s identity. Joy has got an older sister (Mhari) she’s terrified of. So does Galloway. Check. Her mother walked into the sea and tried to kill herself. Check. Her granny left her documents and glass eye out before she died in a house fire. Check. Galloway became a school teacher. Check. Listen to Joy at her morbid best: ‘Sometimes things get worse before they get better. Sometimes they just get worse. Sometimes all that happens is passing time.’ This encapsulates the trick is to keep breathing. There’s no great answers. No tricks. You just get on with it. Sometimes there’s no joy in that and sometimes it’s difficult to say whose voice is speaking. Galloway just tells it like it is. How hard can that be? Try it.