I really enjoyed Michelle Berry’s novel Interference. At first glance, it might seem like a simple novel but speaks volumes about the human experience. It examines how people can come into our lives, for the better or worse, and how we respond, physically or mentally, to them can reveal a lot about who we are.
The novel is comprised of short stories about the neighbours on Edgewood Street in a small town called Parkville. It has everything from Seniors Ladies Leisure League hockey, teenagers, child abduction, disfigurement, and cancer. As it progresses, readers will begin to notice how interconnected the characters’ lives really are.
It also explores concepts of judgement, perspective, and fear. Each chapter is about one character’s point of view. The reader is able to connect with them, understanding their circumstances better than their own family and friends because you have insight into their thoughts, feelings, fears, and what makes them vulnerable. Sometimes characters are judgmental about their fellow neighbors too, assuming the worse, but later in another chapter, readers learn about the other characters, finding out about their truth. I think it is reflective of human nature. Despite how close we might be with family and friends or the countless people we cross our paths with each day, we don’t truly understand what they might be going through. As well, the novel encourages us to be more compassionate, either with the people we know or even strangers.
While I did enjoy this book, the only thing that bothered me in the beginning was the writing style. It felt a little awkward at first since there is primarily short sentences. I’m used to something with a variety of sentences, especially a few complex sentences, which can make a reading experience a little smoother. However, overtime I did get use to the writing style. It started feeling like the telling of each character’s story was something factual, completely their perspective and truth. Also, some readers might find the pacing too slow or the climax unrewarding, but I think it is a positive. Too many novels try too hard to sensationalize situations. This novel remains grounded and reminds us what the human experience is like. It can wonderful, scary, joyous, sad, or just plain weird!
As well, I was surprised how many characters I connected with. I understood Tom’s insecurities, know people like Claire who has cancer, being passionate about something like Trish, and moving somewhere new like Dayton and trying to fit in. I also have two favourite characters. The first one is John, a man with a scar directly down the center of his face. When he was first introduced, I couldn’t wait to learn more about him. I wanted to know his story. Then, there was Jude, a quiet teen trying to cope with the fact his mother has cancer. I felt his story was too short. I wanted to know more about him and especially what happened to the boy he liked so much more than the boy’s twin sister.
And since this blog is all about awesome female characters, I do want to mention how great it was to read about the ladies who took part in Senior Ladies Leisure League hockey. There are not many books that explore older women who play sports. It reminded me of my own life. I’m still quite young and while I haven’t played in a hockey league, I’ve played soccer all my life, mostly in a women’s league. Now more than ever, I see and play soccer alongside women of a wide range of ages—from eighteen to sixty. I can only hope to enjoy the game as long as I can too.
If you enjoy slice of life or interconnected stories, Interference definitely should be next on your reading list!
Wait, there’s more!
I have a copy of Interference up for grabs. For a chance to win, leave a comment below about someone who has come into your life and how they changed it for the better.
Only open to Canadians.
Winner will be announced August 15.
GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED