Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of a read-along and to submit my reviews and thoughts. This has in no way impacted my review.
As bushfires rage outside the city, three women at different life stages are watching a performance of a Samuel Beckett play at the theatre. Margot is in her 70s – a professor dealing with a fraught relationship with her sick husband, a strained relationship with her only son and a curveball thrown by her work. Ivy is a philanthropist in her 40s and the mother of a toddler, with a difficult past involving the death of a child. And finally, there is Summer. An usher at the theatre in her early 20s wrought by the anxieties of the world as well as the welfare of her partner, April who has headed towards the fires to help her family. Three women, three different perspectives, all at one show.
The Performance is a character-driven novel by Claire Thomas looking into the lives of three different women. We get an insight into how their pasts have shaped their present through their internal monologues. Bit by bit, the lives of each of the women is revealed to us – their fears, their thoughts, their relationships. Through this, various social issues are also explored and questioned. This story is not about the plot. The women’s lives do intertwine but honestly, that’s not relevant. It’s a book that forces you to think and question the world we are in.
I loved the writing and structure of the book. It is meant to mirror a play & the book has different acts as well as the interval which I thought was cleverly done. I really liked Margot’s & Summer’s characters – their issues & fears resonated with me a lot more than Ivy’s. There were several times I chuckled or laughed out loud at the caustic observations and inner thoughts. I don’t know much of Beckett’s plays and I’m not sure if knowing that would’ve added another layer of understanding. Overall, this was an enjoyable & thought-provoking read.