Bev, Leanne, Frances and Rhoda discover that they are members of the exclusive Arab Club. How they qualify for membership of this unusual club is a tale skilfully told and titillating in the telling. Author Tim Lowe employs the prism of multiple narrators whose convergent stories concerning life, lust, food, love, death and sex intersect in the Geelong home of recently widowed Jeff. Gender roles and societal expectations are challenged and tested in this tell-all rollicking romp through the mores of urban and rural Victoria.
The conversational and often confessional tone adopted by each of the five characters as they present and progress their intriguing interlocking stories creates an easy rapport with the reader. While their dynamics as a group may at times involve collaborative subterfuge to stage manage a situation, which usually involves Jeff, individually each narrator exposes their own human frailty through the raw honesty of their monologues. We come to know intimately the ménage a cinq through each character’s version of events as well as from the vantage points of the spectators on the sidelines.
As events unfold the Arab Club members gain insight into their own needs as autonomous individuals as well as increased understanding of the benefits of belonging to a secret sisterhood. This powerful tale of secrets and lies, harmony and discord, jealousy and collaboration, love and loss, lust and fidelity is told with gentleness and humour. The Arab Club will appeal to the mature reader especially, and a sequel eagerly awaited to discover more about the lives of these fascinating four women and one man!
Reviewed by Chris McGuigan
Available from Sid Harta Publishers http://sidharta.com/au/