‘MINT’ by SR Wilsher
This may change with so far to go!
It’s the summer of 1976, and after nine years in prison, James Minter is home to bury his mother.
A history of depression and a series of personal issues has seen her death ruled as suicide.
His refusal to accept that conclusion means he must confront his violent stepfather, deal with the gangster who wants his mother’s shop and, of course, face the family of the boy he killed.
But will his search for the truth in the claustrophobic atmosphere of a small seaside town, and the unpicking of the peculiar relationship his mother had with the Stonemason next door, put his own life in danger.
SR Wilsher launces ‘Mint’ onto an unsuspecting public. It is interesting to me that Wilsher talks about how he will “never see any of his books on the shelves of bookshops” but, with writing of this quality, I’m surprised at his lack of optimism.
From the blurb and synopsis, you might be tempted to think that this is going to be a rough and tumble gangster epic. However, it is a much more subtle piece than that.
This is a tale of toxic masculinity and its consequences. It’s a tale of broken families and the impact that one punch can have on a life no matter how well meaning.
It is a very well put together tale with a narrative which skips between decades and narrators. This works very well and each character has a clearly differentiated voice of their own. However, this may be the factor which turns some readers off – you can’t relax with this spiralling story as old enmities bubble up and we learn what motives even the most unpleasant of people.
I tend to divide my life in two. Prior to 2009, I did the long hours and the commitment to paying the mortgage, studying, and finishing the house, whilst trying to write in a way that didn’t impact too much on family and career. The reality was work affected my writing, and my writing prevented me ever committing to my job wholeheartedly.
In 2009, I had a kidney transplant. It took a while to undo the way I had lived before, my life still involved work, children, coffee and chocolate. But slowly I’ve stepped back from work and now spend much more of my time pleasing myself; writing, making furniture and creating art. I’m no better off financially, but I have been much more productive with my writing.
There was a time when I was rewriting the same book over and over in some attempt to second guess the rejections I received. Self-publishing has freed me to move on. Now I usually have two books on the go, one in development and one on its way to completion. 2020, however, being the year that it was, means I’ve been working on three.
I continue to be disappointed that I’ll never see any of my books on the shelves of any bookshop. But I console myself with the fact I’ll never see any of them in a charity shop either.