British humor is so darn good at bringing to light the absurdities of everyday life without being oppressive or depressing. Annie Lyons’ new novel, The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett, is no exception.
In southeast London, 85-year-old Eudora Honeysett has quite literally had enough of life. Living alone in the same house where she grew up, Eudora is increasingly baffled and annoyed by how the world around her has become louder and lazier. Though her brain is sharp, her body is a daily reminder of what’s to come: an undignified death surrounded by strangers. Without any friends or family to account for, Eudora signs up with a Swiss clinic to end her life on her own terms. She is completely ecstatic at the thought of being gone before Christmas.
Just when things are looking up, so to speak, a new family moves in next door, including Rose Trewidney, a sweet and hyper 10-year-old girl who is instantly intrigued by the grumpy old woman. Eudora finds Rose’s curiosity extremely nosy and obnoxious, but trying to resist Rose is even harder than summoning death.
Intertwined with these events are Eudora’s memories of her childhood, including heartbreaks, wartime survival and missed opportunities. These flashbacks give the reader something deeper to mull over concerning their own wins and losses, and how our perceptions change during different stages of life.
Even with death and loneliness at its core, The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett is filled with personable characters, witty dialogue and relatable moments. It’s a vibrant and humorous celebration of being alive and learning to say goodbye.