by Jenni Daiches
Dimensions: 210 x 140 x 16 mm
Publication: 12 October 2016
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A year after the sudden death of her husband, Sonia Billings impulsively leaves her Yorkshire home of nearly four decades for a rundown railway carriage in the Scottish Highlands, much to the dismay of her three grown children, who would prefer that she remain in England.
But with her seventieth birthday approaching, Sonia whose mother died at seventy-three feels that she is living on borrowed time and must make the most of what she has left. Scotland may not be her birthplace, but Sonia has fond memories of a childhood spent with her Scottish mother and grandparents, and in the Highlands she feels closer to her eldest son, who tragically died there.
Though not long her home, Scotland is where Sonia feels she needs to be: here, she is the eccentric white-haired woman who lives with two dogs in a railway carriage. Here, she is an outsider, and is free to examine and reinvent herself. She enjoys her independence and, as the referendum day approaches, re ects on what independence would mean for Scotland and for the UK.
Borrowed Time is an exercise in gratitude. Daiches explores life’s happiest, saddest and most mundane moments with equal measure, showing that even an ordinary life is extraordinary in its details. Her ability to savour every moment is contagious.
"Jenni Daiches's second novel is a quiet but powerful portrait of Ruth, a woman of middle age, and her relationships - with her ex-husband, her now dead parents, her siblings and her children, and perhaps most of all with the various lodgers with whom she shares her run-down, rambling family home a few miles from Edinburgh. ... This is not a novel of thrills and spills, but it is engrossing and thought-provoking, and has left a lasting impression on this reader." — James Robertson writing about Forgive
"Borrowed Time is a sensitive portrayal of Sonia Billings’ journey from wife and mother to the eccentric, white-haired woman who lives in a railway carriage at the bottom of the garden in the Scottish Highlands. Far from being a meditation on loss and loneliness – although both are at the heart of the novel – Borrowed Time instead becomes a rich tapestry of one woman’s life." — Beth Cochrane, Bella Caledonia