As you begin to read Chapter One of this intriguing novel, it seems to be about the grief of a man living in a small Cornish town, after the recent death of his wife. Surrounded by his family he goes to a pub quiz night, appearing to be making a return to normal life. But on the contrary, Ken Jackson’s life is about to end. As he says,
“If I could do it all again, I’d do it differently.”
And he is given the opportunity to do just that. With the foreknowledge of his previous life, he sets out on his new life intending to spend more time with his wife and family and trying to prevent the suffering that those closest to him, had endured.
There is poetry and rich description in this book and characters, especially his childhood friends Sheila and Billy, who come out of the pages with clear voices and emotions. His Granfer, the wise woman, is so important to Ken that he tries to extend her life and change events, but she knows about his second life and does not always approve of his actions.
The story of Porthfurzy, declining as a town of fishermen in one life or becoming a thriving yacht-building town in his other life, causes Ken to question his motives but he cannot ignore his knowledge of an alternative. There is a moral dilemma, but with fore-knowledge we might also act as Ken does.
I found this story riveting because beyond the concept of changing events that once happened, is the underlying truth that people’s feelings and passions are unchanged. I have slight reservations about the final part of the book but that is for you to judge when you read it.
The Honesty of Tigers is available on Amazon UK