The Crossing by Andrew Miller
Reviewed by Gillian, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale
Maud and Tim meet at the end of their university studies brought together by their shared interest in sailing. Maud is a scientist ready to embark on a career in R&D. Her parents are both school teachers - she remembers her home always smelling of laminating. She is intelligent and practical although people find her detached and reserved. Tim is a musician and aspiring composer from a wealthy and doting family.
When Tim and Maud marry and have a child, it is Tim who stays at home, pursuing his music, looking after the baby. When tragedy intervenes he is reabsorbed into the parental household leaving Maud bereft. She sets about planning "the crossing", a sailing adventure that will test her skill, endurance and courage. Miller's story of a young family living in bucolic comfort is transformed as Maud confronts a physical and psychological trial. Miller revels in the language of sailing relishing the details of the equipment, techniques and conditions. The test of solitude and self-sufficiency Maud imposes on herself is conveyed with weighty threat. Maud is an unusual heroine, she is stoic and effective, and like many quiet people misunderstood and underestimated by more sociable people. Will she survive the challenge? Enjoy this unusual book to find out.