Tim Walker - Completion
A warm and invigorating debut novel detailing the lives of a broken family and their shared home
Completion essentially tells four stories, flitting between the lives of divorced couple Jerry and Pen Manville and their two grown children, Conrad and Isobel. Tying this broken unit together is the old family home on Highbury Hill, the setting for their best times and bleakest moments together, as well as Pen's moderately successful House on the Hill children's book series (of which Conrad and Isobel were the reluctant stars). The process of selling the property soon sparks a complex range of emotions among the Manvilles; in Jerry's case, fury when he discovers the house has been invaded by student squatters with strong political views and no intention of leaving.
Tim Walker's debut novel brims with wit and rich characterisation. It casts a sardonic gaze on hipster subculture, political idealism and our property-obsessed society, and though not always packed with incident, it is never dull. The four main plot strands are handled with skill, and when they do intersect it feels natural rather than contrived. Completion is a warm and invigorating read, and highly recommended.