Paperbacks: The Taxi Queue, by Janet Davey

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

On a snowy night in January two strangers decide to share a taxi outside Paddington Station. Richard is in his mid-forties, married with two small children. Abe is young, attractive and gay. When the cab arrives at Richard's front door, Abe accepts Richard's offer to stay the night.

The next morning the two men return to their normal lives: Richard back to organising children's tennis lessons and church socials, and Abe to the house he shares with his sister in Kensal Rise. Bringing together a cast of suburban north Londoners, all vaguely dissatisfied with their lot, Davey traces the destabilising consequences of this chance encounter. Richard's wife, Vivienne, alerted by her husband's distracted state, finds a business card in his wallet. The contact number scribbled on the back turns out to be Abe's sister's – a casual piece of deception that enables Vivienne to continue family life in a state of semi-blissful ignorance. In a novel that feels more like real life than any other book you will read this year, Davey's inconclusive narrative elegantly encapsulates the way in which major crises are routinely absorbed into everyday lives without fanfare or resolution. As wistful and anti-romantic as her previous novels, Davey's unassuming third book gets under the skin, leaving the admiring reader depressed and undone, but wanting more.

Comments