Waiting For Gordo by Sue Knight
THIS SLIM VOLUME is an eccentric thriller about a mixed bunch of middle-aged scuba-divers holidaying on a small resort island, presumably
in the Maldives, as seen through the filter of non-diver of the group Miranda.
The book is Sue Knight’s second novel, and I’m not sure if it’s significant that the author is a Jehovah’s Witness, although her publisher does underline the fact.
It kicks off with the lyrics of the nursery song Ten Green Bottles Hanging On a Wall, setting the theme of a book in which the cast of characters soon starts thinning out.
I didn’t count how many friends there were, and kept getting mixed up as to which was which, because we don’t really get to know any of them well, apart from Miranda and her domineering husband Jim, but they probably do number 10.
Some of the friends are friendlier than others. Gordo, Jim’s dive-buddy, is, as the title suggests, lurking offstage.
The story is out as a paperback but I had downloaded the ebook on Kindle to read while sitting on the beach on a different tropical dive-island.
The book wasn’t long enough to divert me from diving for too long, but my vaguely unreal paradise surroundings did match the atmosphere of the book nicely, and the story has an unsettling dream-like quality that gets to you.
The plot might seen quite slight, but there are hidden depths there.
I wouldn’t normally rush to the bookshelf for a dose of magical realism but Waiting for Gordo made for a pleasant diversion.
I should make clear, however, that unlike in Twelve Mile Bank, and despite the dive-island setting, it turns out that there is precious little actual scuba-diving in this book!
Review by Steve Weinman
Fantastic Books Publishing
Softback, 156pp 15x23cm, £5.99