Jessica Norrie wrote a really interesting guest post back in January about the process of seeing her book go from print to an audiobook. You can read this guest post here. At the time she kindly offered me a copy of the book and finally I have got around to reading it!
The Infinity Pool begins with Adrian, director of the Serendipity holiday community, lying badly injured by the side of the pool reflecting that he hadn’t expected to die that day. Rewind one year to 2010 and we meet Adrian, his staff and his guests at Serendipity. Serendipity is one of those places you go to ‘find yourself’ and the guests take part in classes such as writing, painting, and meditation. Part two of the book returns to 2011 where we find the staff trying to cope with Adrian’s mysterious disappearance. Many of the guests are also missing the popular community leader as they return year after year for inspiration. “There’s no energy. Adrian used to tie everything together……..if he’s lost his way, Serendipity has no meaning either.”
Jessica Norrie has written such vivid descriptions that the reader will easily be able to visualise the island, resort and the guests. The guests are all very different with different reasons for visiting Serendipity and it would be fair to say that some are more likeable that others. I thought the clash between the two cultures was well depicted. The locals did not particularly like the community and were strongly opposed to the building of the pool in an area where water is precious in summer. I can imagine this something which many popular holiday resorts experience. On the one hand, tourists bring much needed income to communities but it must be difficult to accept conflicting views and sometimes there is little respect for local customs. As one of the locals says, following a fire probably caused by one of the guests: “You people, you smoke outside, you light candles, you start fire, you no think of us, our life, our history. You go home next month, you forget island in winter.”
One character I particularly liked was local girl Maria. She has a relationship with one of the holiday community members and is rather shunned by her own community as a result. She grows from an idealistic young girl in the first half to a determined young woman in the second part of the story. Her friendship with guest Ruby was very touching as the two women find a connection when they are both let down in love.
A steady paced read, The Infinity Pool is an enjoyable read and may well make you dream of warmer climes. It may also make you consider the impact of tourism on local communities. I must just finish by mentioning the lovely cover of the book. It looks so peaceful and gives a good impression of the setting of the book.
My thanks again to the author for giving me a copy of her book in exchange for my honest review. The Infinity Pool was published in July 2015 and is available in paperback, as an ebook and an audiobook. You can order a copy here: The Infinity Pool
From the back of the book
In this thoughtful novel set on a sun-baked island, Adrian Hartman, the charismatic director of the Serendipity holiday community, is responsible for ensuring the perfect mindful break, with personal growth and inner peace guaranteed. People return year after year to bare their souls. For some, Adrian IS Serendipity.
But Adrian disappears, and with him goes the serenity of his staff and guests, who are bewildered without their leader. The hostility of the local villagers is beginning to boil over. Is their anger justified or are the visitors, each in a different way, just paranoid?
As romance turns sour and conflict threatens the stability of both communities, everyone has to find their own way to survive. This evocative story explores the decisions of adults who still need to come of age, the effect of well-intentioned tourism on a traditional community, and the real meaning of getting away from it all.