The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

There is a very real risk of The Bus on Thursday being written-off as a 'light' read due to its idyllic setting and flippant protagonist. However, author Shirley Barrett twists these features into an engaging and confusing ride through sanity. The story follows Eleanor’s journey as she copes with a breast cancer diagnosis, and after a depressive interlude, takes a promising job in the sweet little mountain town of Talbinga. Exploring Eleanor’s journey post-cancer, post-boyfriend, (and thus in her eyes) post-life, this easy read very quickly turns into a story about Eleanor, post-reality.

From the get-go it is intensely readable and Eleanor is a relatable, easy-to-read narrator. She is also a quintessentially unreliable narrator, though you only find this out once you’ve gone through the process of deciding how relatable and how like you she is. When it’s clear that she has descended into a world of delusion and self-destruction the reader is thrown off balance. When did she start to lose her mind (and when did you?)?


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