Sunday, 19 February 2012
Author: Margaret Tabor
Year of publication: 1980, Hamlyn edition 1982
Back cover blurb: 'I am Unity, held back in exile - haunted by my own life on the other side of an invisible screen'
Unity Penfold returns home one afternoon... and finds it isn't there.
- Her house has vanished.
- No one has heard of her husband.
- At the local school they know nothing of her children.
- Unity's whole existence seems to have been wiped out.
Then a clash with hooligans puts her in hospital with severe concussion. She wakes to a world of nightmare and uncertainty - and a lonely, desperate fight to cling on to her identity.
As the weeks pass, her struggle toughens and changes Unity so much that she becomes a new person. Or does she?
Quick flick reveals: First-person narrative from the perspective of a fantastically boring-sounding woman in an extraordinary situation, which she narrates in the style of someone giving a Powerpoint presentation to Head Office. Good to see that old chestnut of a plot development 'beaten up by hooligans' employed here. I hadn't seen it for a while and was beginning to miss it. If I had a time machine, I'd go back to 1980, get a film version of this book made on a low budget in Australia featuring David Hemmings, then in his drinking years (probably playing a doctor of some type), and then travel forward to the present day, just so I could watch it at 12.50 a.m. on BBC2 at the weekend. (Obviously, this wouldn't be my first choice of destination, just something I'd get around to if I had an infinite number of goes...)
Random paragraph: 'We were also involved in rounding up rival gangs of children aged about 8, black and white respectively, for an American film being shot in the Cotswolds, and this was proving difficult, costly and a logistical nightmare. And, in our spare moments, we were casting but not servicing a series of educational films to be shown in the States only.'