Brighton-based non-fiction publisher Joseph Zigmond’s debut novel is set in the year 2006, where 18-year-old Ali bumps into schoolfriend Simon on a tube journey. Simon is accompanied by a girl called Cece, who immediately captivates Ali, and the three head to a nightclub. From the tube journey onwards, Zigmond’s character development skills are impressive. Ali is growing up in a toxic and suffocating environment at home, whilst Simon’s appears to be entirely the opposite, though flawed underneath the glossy surface.
Ali and Cece eventually become an item at university, until the latter disappears without explanation. Hereafter, Constance moves onwards to 2064, and a world damaged beyond repair by global warming and war. Ali, now elderly with a wife and daughter, has not got over Cece, and sets off to find her – jeopardising the life he has to relive the past and find out why she left, nearly 60 years ago.
Constance is a humane story of error, brittle and naive friendships, disloyalty and the consequences of turning a blind eye, as devastating as Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life and as razor-sharp as Ian McEwan’s Lessons.
Constance, Joseph Zigmond (The Indigo Press)
Price: £11.99. Info: here
words DAVID NOBAKHT