Once Upon A Lane, by Duncan Wilson, refuses to obey genres and is a character driven story written in strong narrative.
The Lane houses a large cast of characters including adults, children and animals who go about their every day lives from Saturday to Wednesday. Everything touches everything and all seems normal. SEEMS.
The characters were many, very many, but Wilson writes this story in a way that keeping up with every character is not necessary. This is the best thing about this book. Imagine trying to remember everyone who lives on a street and everything about them. The fact is, the LANE is the most important character and everyone else just makes the Lane more interesting. Additionally, Wilson gives us just enough details when we “see” a character to help us know or remember them.
Again, the Lane, the world of this book is well described and easy to see. This is because the details of what the Lane itself looks like, are constantly addressed. The homes, the yards, the depths of the neighborhood are the biggest part of the story.
The plot of this book appears to be the lives of these characters but Wilson sneaks in a mystery which we are left to ponder on our own without the authors persistence. It’s there, but it’s not there. We can see it, but it’s only a peek. This gives us all the control which is rare in a story these days!
Overall, this is an EXCELLENT book. I was very impressed with how Wilson handles such a big cast, the book was easy to read, and the plot was fun and exciting!