Humming by Rachel McAlpine

HummingHumming by Rachel McAlpine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Humming is a contemporary tale set in Golden Bay New Zealand. Golden Bay is found on the northeast coastline of the South Island. The story is set in the small community of Petitport and the story begins in 2001. Ivan is an artist, Jane runs a café, they have a relaxed open relationship. Ivan can constantly hear a humming noise and the search for it’s cause drives him to distraction.

Much of the community is brought together by a Tai Chi class that meets regularly. Xania has just returned from a year in Argentina studying Tai Chi under master Shan, she has returned to find many of her previous classes have dissolved under the unsatisfactory tutelage of Luna. Xania is expected to raise money for a Tai Chi centre in Auckland and must raise the funds for her Argentinian masters. The plans involve getting Ivan to paint pictures to raise funds for the centre.

Ivan likes being the centre of attention and plunges into deep depression when things don’t go his way, Jane panders to his artistic needs, but as his fiftieth birthday approaches he finds Jane stifles his artistic vibes. He is flattered by attentions he gets from Xania and other members of the Tai Chi group, which blindly lead him to involvement in illegal trading of protected species.

Xania’s passions for a healthy lifestyle are extreme as is her love of Argentina and the Tai Chi world. Through-out the book we read one sided e-mails to her former lover in Argentina as she makes a case for the Auckland centre. The situation almost hints at a cult style influence as Xania opens bank accounts and gives a finale sacrifice for the cause.

Jane and Ivan’s relationship runs hot and cold as they both battle with distractions. Ivan fails to understand Jane’s own artistic passion for her café and her pickles and preserves, nor does he appreciate the lengths she goes to tolerating his whims. Other members of the Tai Chi group also go through relationship challenges which conclude at the end.

This is quite a compelling read, the search for the source of the hum draws you in and the relationship issues keep you reading. Ivan is unpredictable and Xania is extreme enough to raise your eyebrows.

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