Okay, I know, I review a lot of Cecelia Ahern books, I can’t help myself. Usually this involves me gushing about the magic of her storytelling! However, the beauty of The Marble Collector is its lack of magic. Ahern explored this in The Year I Met You, but this novel goes further in exploring a darker and I suppose grittier narrative.
One of Ahern’s best qualities as a writer, in my opinion, is the way in which she tells stories based on her character’s flaws. You might argue that many authors us this same method, it is a common technique, but for me, Ahern exposes her character’s inadequacies in a way that immediately pulls you into the story. The Marble Collector presents us with a daughter and father and at first we have a woman with emotional flaws and a parent with a flaw that is more physical, more medical, he has dementia. You would think then that the novel is about family relationships when in fact, it centres almost entirely on her father, Fergus.
The novel follows two timelines, Sabrina and the elderly Fergus and Fergus from the age of five. Fergus’ young life and the often brutal hardships he endures allows us to see the man behind the dementia, and what shaped his adult life and relationship with his daughter. All of which Sabrina is mostly unaware of. In the present, we follow Sabrina as she learns about her father through his marble collection in a way she never could and now can’t, even if she wanted to.
Fergus’ life is heartbreaking and enthralling in itself but the more important aspects of the novel is where the beauty lies. Sabrina follows the fairly common route of most of Ahern’s protagonists, she is on a journey of self discovery. However, it is only by uncovering her father’s secrets that she is able to reconcile herself with her own life. The story not only shows the importance of memories but also the person who is created by those memories, both Fergus and in turn Sabrina. Everybody has secrets and everyone has a right to them, however sometimes it is only by revealing those secrets that you can begin to understand some one.
Maybe I’m a little biased when it comes to Cecelia Ahern novels but what can I say, I love her writing! I can see how some people might struggle with the sudden, darker change in her storytelling but I adored it and I am sure I will adore the next. Yes this one is grittier but surely that is to be expected when people’s flaws are so exposed.