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Love story of a suburban beauty

All the Blue

Peter Terrin

With apt turns of phrase, Peter Terrin takes you with him in this tragic, compelling love story to a crucial episode in the lives of Simon and Carla in the late 1980s. He is just short of twenty, she twice his age. Simon, having abandoned his studies, has no desire for the traditional life his overanxious mother has in mind for him. Carla, who runs the bar at Café Azzura, the name of which refers both to her Italian roots and the ‘blue’ water of the adjoining swimming pool, is looking for a way out of the violence of the life she leads with her husband John. Despite their difference in age, Simon and Carla throw themselves into a passionate relationship, with far-reaching consequences. Their lust is a spark of magic in the grey world of the provincial town in which they live, an escape from a life of entrapment. 

Less is more with Peter Terrin. He has no need of original plot twists or tricksy narrative structures to satisfy the reader’s appetite to the very last page. ****

Terrin excels at characterization. He has chosen ordinary, recognizable characters and he brings them to life with great feeling and nuance. His matchlessly distilled style and his photographic eye are perfectly suited to the detail of a snapshot. He can suggest a wide-ranging idea in a few words. The rapid changes of narrative perspective transport the reader from the experiences of one character to those of another. Terrin has moreover composed the book as an exciting novel. The opening scene highlights a lifeless body in a car park, which prompts an exploration of the love between Carla and Simon.

‘All the Blue’ is a sensitive and sensual novel about friendship and love, and about the delicate quest for an identity of one’s own. It interrogates the existential doubt that can creep over us all and exposes the way that every ripple on the water has a deeper source. In ‘All the Blue’ Terrin’s mastery comes to full fruition.

With ‘All the Blue’ Peter Terrin presents a flawless novel, with an atmosphere and intensity reminiscent of Graham Swift and Ian McEwan.
‘All the Blue’ is recognizable and at the same time completely unique. Magnificent prose. *****