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Maria Savva

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Second Chances
by Maria Savva   

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Books by Maria Savva
· Love and Loyalty (and Other tales)
· Pieces of a Rainbow
· Coincidences
· A Time to Tell
                >> View all


Literary Fiction

Publisher:  Rose And Freedom Books ISBN-10:  095641012X Type: 


Copyright:  Jul, 2010 ISBN-13:  9780956410122

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A novel

Set in London, in the noughties, sometime after the smoking ban, and before the great 21st century recession... James has always believed in happy ever after, and he plans to get there one day. He is doing okay. At the age of thirty-three, he has a top job, dream house, two healthy children, and a wife who always stands by him. These things, James can rely on, until one day, when everything changes, and he realises that he has spent so long looking towards the future, that he has neglected the present. Feeling unloved, his wife, Pamela, has left him, leaving nothing but a brief note. She has taken their two children. How far will James go to save his marriage? What can Pamela do to stop the past haunting her life? Will it be enough?

James looked at his watch again. It was 11 pm. He had been eager to get home after work, but Tim had practically begged him to go for a drink. He had been confiding in James a great deal recently, about his marital problems, as if he were crying for help. James felt obliged to listen to him, and in a way it helped him to feel that someone else was suffering in the same way as him, but he never mentioned the problems he was having with Pamela. He didn’t know if it was pride or denial that stopped him, but he kept it all to himself. He felt a bit selfish now. Surely it would have been more supportive of him to tell Tim how his marriage was suffering too? Then he might feel a bit better, knowing he wasn’t alone. But somehow, James couldn’t bring himself to talk about it.
‘You know,’ Tim slurred his words as he spoke, and his eyes still did not appear able to focus. ‘I really mean it -- you’re so lucky to have a wife who understands you... you don’t know how lucky you are. Never let her go, James. Don’t lose her. She’s rare, like a diamond.’
He looked at his hands to avoid Tim’s eyes, and realised that he had been twisting his wedding ring around as he’d been listening to him. A memory nudged his brain; a reminder of something he’d once heard on a TV talk show: ‘If someone is playing with their wedding ring, it’s a sign that things are not going well in their marriage.’ Where do they come up with such bullshit? he thought, letting go of his wedding ring, feeling annoyed.
‘I’ll speak to Reg tomorrow, and I’ll get time off. I’ll get her back, you’ll see,’ said Tim.
James shook his head, feeling uncomfortable. This whole conversation was too weird. It was as if Tim was some sort of messenger about the state of his own marriage -- a harbinger of doom. ‘I’d better be going,’ he said, hoping that Pamela would be in bed when he got home. He could not bear another argument tonight.

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Reader Reviews for "Second Chances"

Reviewed by Joel Kirkpatrick 11/2/2010
This novel would work beautifully as a four act play. The dramatic tempo is nearly perfect; the characters are well exposed in just their dialogue. It would be riveting to hear this text spoken because it is riveting enough on the page. The key to this working in either form, is the gift of the author for wrenching emotions, and crushing self-doubt. Has that made this a depressing story? Absolutely not. No.

‘Second Chances’ by Maria Savva, is actually very tight, disregarding the fact the characters hop on international flights a couple of times. We don’t watch these two main characters from much distance at any point of the story. This is very intimate, and a stage would enhance that. It would be stunning.

The subject is quite sad, and very life-like. Pam and James do not have a made-for-each-other marriage. What marriage they have, can hardly bear the strain of silence they have imposed upon one another. Silence they have created because they are each tormented, so deeply they cannot express any part of it. Maria does not allow her characters any privacy, nor does she introduce their problems over any gentle length of time. Pam and James certainly arrived at this moment, over years of strain and hesitation. But, Maria introduces them to us at the precise point that they can no longer contain their individual torments. They are literally flung apart, and we are washed by their heartache. We don’t journey to that point, we journey away from it.

How do people act, when broken so completely? They act rashly. How do people confront the loss of nearly everything they hold dear? They wallow in self accusation. In that one little slice of human nature, Maria hangs her entire moral, and she does have one. Pam and James blame themselves – more deeply than they blame one another. ‘Second Chances’ avoids any hints of a love story, the characters don’t dwell on that emotion; this is a doubt story. By finding a way to overcome their self-doubts, Pam and James turn this into a story of trust. Something as valuable as love could ever be.

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