The Crying Room is a novel of many parts, all of which are complex but in an oblique manner come together to make a fascinating journey into the human psyche through the eyes of the feminine perspective.
The Crying Room begins literally at ‘The Crying Room’ not far from Kings Cross Station, the week before Christmas. It is a specialised room established specifically for the purpose of crying; for letting your grief format into tears; a private place for letting go and refreshing.
This is where we meet Suzie, who is working her way through a Medical Degree and is empathic to the tears and distress of the visitors to the room. In many ways this is her story which in the first instance appears to be one of a series of short stories.
It is not until several chapters have been read the realization that this is only a small segment of a much longer and far more complex story becomes apparent, with Monica, Suzie’s niece joining the narrative as she begins a creative writing course. She is the writer of some of the chapters, but which is never quite clear. Is it Monica retelling a story or Suzie sharing her grief?
Each of the female protagonists is a complex character; the mother, the daughters, the niece, each one trying to find the meaning or reason for their lives and the why of the repression they have each faced which appears to be inherent.
Various other threads are added to weave the complex narrative of the varying emotion of family and relationships: compassion, death, regret, remorse, control, loneliness and interestingly the concept of love; what it is and how fleeting it can be.
Slow moving and delicate, the style allows each of the women to develop, with their innermost thoughts and feelings placed in a clear light. Even though they are not to any degree overly likeable, they are the people in our lives we meet and work with every day.
The Crying Room is a novel of our times; careful, precise and yet complex. Throughout the narrative the destruction that can be caused by holding emotions at a distance is placed in plain view, analysed and eventually reflected upon, almost far too late.