Every now and then a reader comes across an author they might be dimly aware of, but not tried before.
Maybe they come across a book in a holiday hotel or charity bookshop written by someone whose name rings a bell.
It was like that with me and Rose Tremain. Honestly. Never read her until Restoration and then I was hooked and had to read everything she had written.
Same with Kate Grenville. Found The Idea of Perfection discarded on a beach in Crete and, again, hooked.
I was vaguely aware of Marina Lewycka because of two areas we had in common: Yorkshire and journalism.
I read her A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian long after everyone else raved about it and was so taken with Lewycka’s lively and funny writing style that, straight after, I read her Two Caravans.
Both books are funny, quirky and thought-provoking, and We Are All Made Of Glue follows in the tradition of unlikely friendships formed by characters as unusual as they are likeable.
Who but the sympathetic narrator, Georgie, would get involved with Naomi, who – at first glance – is a Jewish bag lady with a pram-load of possessions and seven stinky cats?
But Naomi is the exotic glue which first attracts and then binds the rest of the characters in unlikely friendships.
Lewycka explores the way her characters are formed and glued by their past, and how their relationships – some of which are quite sticky – are being bound together.
Georgie, who writes for a specialist adhesives magazine, wrestles with the idea of polymerisation.
It’s when a single molecule grabs on to two other similar molecules to make a long chain.
Who’s the polymer here? Georgie or Naomi?
And the chain includes everyone, from the sinister social worker, Mrs Goodknee, and the devilish estate agent, Mark Diabello, to Artem, Naomi’s Jewish lover and Mr Ali, the Palestinian handiman called in to restore the personal Middle Eastern conflict that is her old, crumbling old house.
Throw into the glue pot references to Yorkshire – Georgie comes from Kippax. ‘Kippers?’ queries one the characters – and Georgie’s mother, full of malapropisms and suffering from ‘immaculate degeneration’ while her husband’s cancer needs a ‘biopic’.
Great fun: a lively, intelligent and immensely enjoyable read.
Available to buy on Amazon.