Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Friday, 17 June 2011

The Mistress's Revenge - Tamar Cohen

'You cannot block someone from your life who doesn't want to be blocked.'

Sally has been having an affair with married man Clive for five years. He suddenly ends it, and Sally is utterly destroyed. This novel begins at that point, at the end of the affair, and is narrated first-hand by Sally throughout in the form of her thoughts in a journal she has been advised to write by her therapist, the amusingly named Helen Bunion. The journal is addressed to Clive throughout. It charts Sally’s sad decline from disbelief and shock, through pain and hurt to intense sadness, delusions and erratic behaviour, and to the sad neglect of her own children Tilly and Jamie and her partner Daniel.

There is black humour, yet it is also very sad to observe the desperation and pain Sally is suffering, having believed the affair would change her life, that she and Clive would be together as he had seemed to promise her. I felt such a sadness for her children too, as she became obsessed virtually 24 hours a day, when not knocked out on unprescribed combinations of sleeping tablets, with emailing and texting Clive, and pursuing supposed friendships with his wife Susan and his children Emily and Liam, popping in uninvited and checking their whereabouts on facebook, and her own family is left untended, feeling unloved and ignored, and shocked and disappointed at the change in their mother.

She is not a particularly likeable character, though I did feel sorry for her at times, as not being able to be with Clive anymore has evidently torn her apart. But she is selfishly unconcerned or unable to see what is happening with her own family whilst she is blinded by this loss of her lover. Clive is a very unsympathetic character and there is little to like about him at all. Some of the black humour comes in the way that we see Susan, Clive’s wife, and Emily, his pregnant and seemingly rather spoilt daughter, through the eyes of Sally, one minute wanting to be friends with them whilst the next second wanting to tear their hair out and so on! The ending of the novel brings about quite a surprise.

I really got pulled into this and am now, having finished it, I’m almost missing Sally’s crazy non-stop rush of internal thoughts. I said almost! It’s well-written and easy to read, hard to put down. Also I will not look at a banana in the same way for awhile..!



  1. Great review! Definitely one for my wish list!

  2. Lmao oh the banana, I actually have one in the fridge chilling, maybe later :/

    I have not long finished this and just posted my review, totally agree with you Lynz.



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