Wendy Fox’s new novel The Pull of It puts a spotlight on the way travel gives us the chance to start our lives again. To find answers to the questions ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What makes me happy?’ Laura, the main character in the book, is discontent and unsettled in her marriage and life in America. Her worries about leaving her daughter with a baby sitter on New Year’s Eve are brushed aside by her husband, of whom she writes, “Julian, ever practical, told me to stop wondering so much about other people’s lives. Truthfully, this did nothing for me: What kind of person doesn’t wonder about other people’s lives, and do I want to be married to him?”
Soon after she boards a plane for Turkey, and once there she is quickly seduced, coming under the spell of a country I have been lucky enough to call home for ten years. Fox quickly reels us in by using the commonly accepted idea that Turkey is a place full of mystery and dangerous unknowns, which she cleverly weaves in as the backdrop for Laura’s physical and emotional journey. In Turkey Laura finds a familiar home of a sorts, one that echoes her needs and uncertainties, and provides her with a safety net as she grapples with the pull of her past, the present and a frightening but potentially different and better future. Being in Turkey allows Laura to try to work out who she is, separate from her roles as lover, wife and mother, what she wants and where she wants to be.
Fox draws a picture of Laura’s dilemma with carefully chosen words which paint beautiful and at times painful scenes. Sometimes the things we love the most for the security and safety they offer, be it people, a place or a memory, have to be sacrificed in order that we can change to become a new and whole person. Fox forces us to accept this by sacrificing all three, but the outcome is something unexpectedly positive.
The Pull of It is Wendy Fox’s first novel, and I can’t wait to read her next one. If you’re a person who forever wonders about the people sitting opposite you on the train, in front of you on the plane, or eating in the same out of the way restaurant in a small town in a foreign country, then this is the book for you.
Title: The Pull of It
Publisher: Underground Voices
Date: September, 2016