Retirement prompts Jane to realise that she has sailed largely unaffected through life’s emotionally rocky waters and unless she starts to embrace living the tides of time are likely to wash her away unnoticed. The mental stimulus of a career in the social services has left her feeling empty and her antidote is to embark on a contemporary saga odyssey revolving around dating agencies and the highs and lows of human relationships.
Timed Out evokes images of a boxer failing to meet the count but the reality of this story is less defeated and more hopeful. The clock might be winding down but this is an often uplifting account of an older woman’s determination to overcome the technological and social barriers of a Facebook age she was expected to observe rather than participate in.
Barbara Lorna Hudson is a fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford who lectured in Applied Social Studies and there are quite probably aspects of the author reflected in the lead character, particularly her empathy with the challenges of her peer group as they question the sepia tinted notion that the secret to love can still be unlocked by an intimate knowledge of Brief Encounter. It may be a leap of faith to embrace a more clinical world where the dissection of an individual’s image and characteristics on a computer screen is the catalyst for romance but this becomes Jane’s conduit into a brighter future.
Her romantic experiences range from the all consuming to the comical; from love revealed too late to ultimately discovering what truly makes her happy in a relationship. Her battle against the ticking clock incorporates a check list of “senior” experiences, from Alzheimers through to male impotence, but in her resilience and optimism we see a woman still of her generation but not afraid to be part of another.
Timed Out by Barbara Lorna Hudson (by Driven Press, price £11.91)
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