A tale of unlikely friendship
- Book: The Lido
- Location: Brixton
- Author: Libby Page
I had just one question when I finished The Lido – why on earth hadn’t I read it before? Telling the story of 86 year old Rosemary and 26 year old Kate’s campaign to save their local lido it is a novel that will stay with me for a very long time, and days after finishing it I still have the most terrible book hangover.
As an author, I am asking myself why, trying to analyse and unpick it. But the fact is, it comes down to the characters; real, flawed and completely beguiling. I genuinely felt as though I knew them personally, and that is a rare writing gift indeed.
Truth be told, I didn’t instantly gel with the book. I wasn’t sure about the way it was written (third person present tense) but as the story unfolded I very quickly ceased to notice. I was pulled into the vividly and quirkily portrayed Brixton world, and if I was tugged out of the narrative at all it was to appreciate how clever the descriptions were, and how they helped to move the story along.
The Lido is fundamentally a story of a friendship between two very different women. Kate, a journalist, young, lost and struggling to find her feet in a new city, and Rosemary who initially comes over as the strongest of people, but of course there are chinks in her armour too. Their relationship is forged by their desire to save the local lido that means so much to both of them but it also looks back to Rosemary’s own love story with her late husband George, and maybe even forwards to a romance for Kate too.
Surrounded by a brilliant cast of supporting characters – including an urban fox – Rosemary and Kate pull together in what seems to be a hopeless battle against the developers. And at the end of the day, this is one of those wonderful books where the journey is more important than the outcome. But of course, to say what the outcome is would be cheating. Dive into The Lido and read it yourself.