A heart-warming and humorous story about rediscovering the small pleasures that make life worthwhile, from one of Australia’s most loved storytellers.
Howard and Elsie Manning were born on the same day, met at kindergarten, and have been married for 59 years. They have lived sensible, productive lives, and raised two self-sufficient daughters. Now, at 78, they are bored with the predictability of life, fed up with contemporary society, have aching joints and dwindling finances, and their circle of friends is shrinking. Worst of all, they are grieving for their beloved, recently deceased pet.
Together, Howard and Elsie consider bringing their lives to a peaceful end, but it turns out leaving this world is not easy, especially if they want to avoid pain or mess. Even the apparently simple methods have much room for error, as they discover.
Then a knock at the door changes everything. It seems there’s life in these old dogs yet… and they’re about to discover it.
Fiona McCallum wrote her first bestseller, Paycheque, in 2011. In the twelve years since, she’s penned another thirteen bestselling novels, and Sunrise Over Mercy Court is bound to join that list.
McCallum’s appeal lies in her ability to delve into the everyday. In this, she covers small topics, including why anyone would purchase a tin of chickpeas, larger issues such as end of life care and the minefield of euthanasia politics, and universal existential questions like what makes life worth living. McCallum’s writing shifts with ease between micro and macro topics, and the in-between spaces of ordinary existence in a tone that’s warm and relatable.
Sunrise Over Mercy Court shows a deep and abiding love between our protagonists and long-term married couple, Elsie and Howard. The subject of grief and bereavement is explored beautifully through the loss of the couple’s beloved family dog, Maisie, stemming a larger question on the relevance of our lives.
At the heart of McCallum’s writing is loss, which is one of the great strengths of the novel. Adding to this is the lightness of touch the author adds as Elsie and Howard rediscover their own joie de vivre via the arrival of their new neighbours. It’s a lovely meditation on reclaiming ourselves and our hope, simply by shifting of our own attitude. McCallum’s readers will love Sunrise Over Mercy Court. We can’t recommend this enough.