Today I’m delighted to be playing host to the blog tour for Catch 52, the debut novel from PG Ronane.
Disclosure: I received a copy of Catch 52 for review. The opinions below are my own and unbiased.
Mike McCarthy wakes up on 24th June 2016 to find that the UK has voted to leave the EU. He is devastated. Mike is strongly pro-Europe, and struggles to come to terms with the unexpected result. He looks back over his own travels in Europe, and tries to assess what Brexit will mean for the UK. In doing so, he also has to work out what it means for his own future.
I have never made any attempt to hide the fact that I was a staunch Remainer, and that I am still very pro-EU. So when I was invited to review Catch 52, I accepted happily. But as it worked its way up my TBR list, I found that I was becoming less inclined to read it. There’s so much in the news about Brexit at the moment, and the events of last June are still very fresh in my memory. Did I really want to be reminded about it all over again?
I’m glad that I did read this book though. Yes, it was painful to be reminded of that fateful morning. Although unlike Mike McCarthy, I stayed up through the night to see the results came in. For me, there was no waking up to the news, I watched it all as it happened. But it was also nice to be reminded that I wasn’t the only one who went through these emotions.
Catch 52 follows the events around Brexit from June 2016 through to Spring 2017. Through a series of flashbacks, Mike McCarthy examines the development of his own stance on the EU. So we meet a French WW2 freedom fighter in Paris in the 1980s, visit both East and West Berlin in the mid 1980s, and hear the thoughts of a Croatian after the fall of Communism and the bitter civil war.
I really enjoyed reading these flashbacks, especially those set in Berlin. I visited the city back in April, and although Catch 52 describes Berlin before the Wall opened, I enjoyed reading about familiar landmarks and districts.
Through discussions with his friends and family, Mike reassesses his position on the EU referendum. Catch 52 invites the reader to do the same, and does put forward a fairly balanced argument for both sides.
Did reading Catch 52 make me reassess my own position? Yes, I did find myself giving it some thought as I read through the novel.
Did it make me change my position? Absolutely not! I’ve been a staunchly pro-European since I lived in West Germany as a child. It would take a lot for me to change my views now, but I did enjoy reading Catch 52. However in hindsight I do feel that the events are still a little too fresh in the memory for me to truly enjoy this book yet.
What do you do when your love affair with Europe comes to an undignified end?
On 24th June 2016, Mike McCarthy wakes up to the news that Britain has voted to leave the EU. A committed European, he is shattered. Over the coming weeks and months, he takes a long, hard look at himself, determined to uncover the reasons why this travesty has occurred, scrutinising the faces of everyone he meets for those he believes may have voted in or out.
As he tries to cope with the looming horror of Brexit, Mike fondly recalls his visits to Europe as a young man, the relationships he formed and how these have moulded his pan-European outlook. Digging too deeply into issues has always been his problem. Mike begins to question the views he holds so dear and discovers new things about those closest to him.
As McCarthy staggers on from The Referendum to the unthinkable triggering of Article 50, he finds himself plunged himself into a different world of social comment and political media. As the strategy for Bredit emerges, he wonders where his future lies and questions his commitment to a cause that may yet plunge his and Britain’s hopes and dreams into the abyss.
An enjoyable read that takes a look back at recent UK political history: 6.5/10