In Breakdown, Irish novelist Cathy Sweeney tells the story of a woman who one day decides to leave everything behind. As the first line of the book says, mothers are not supposed to go on road trips; in that spirit, Sweeney starts the journey of self-discovery that the unnamed main character goes through. However, this particular journey does not necessarily lead to a conventional happy ending.
The book is written in the first-person perspective, the use of which immerses the reader and creates the illusion of being one with the main character, feeling what she is feeling. Instead of conventional chapters, Sweeney breaks the story into the places where the protagonist stops, or her methods of travel: house, train, ferry, cottage.
Breakdown self-identifies as a story that no one wants to hear, on the grounds of it being too difficult to digest. The parallel between spiritual uncertainty and the heaviness of the responsibilities placed on oneself shines bright in Sweeney’s prose, making for a provocative read which opens the door to marriage and motherhood in the modern world and how it can affect a woman. You can have everything and still long for more. The question is, what will you do?
Breakdown, Cathy Sweeney (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Price: £18.99/£24.99 audiobook. Info: here
words EWA PAŁKA