This book starts when its middle aged male narrator is woken in the night by his wife who announces that she wants a divorce. In order to save his marriage they set off on a grand tour of Europe with their teenage son (inter-railing for adults). The narrative moves back and forward in time as we learn more about the disintegrating marriage. I enjoyed the level of detail about the relationship, always fascinated by the arrangements and feelings of others. I sometimes felt like I was prying into someone’s private diary.
The book is easy to read and to follow and the narrator appears to be reliable. The trouble is he is not very likeable. He is a scientist and seems to lack empathy with others which leads to the failure of the marriage. He reminded me of some people I know.
I really enjoyed the descriptions of the cities in Europe which I have also been to and the wry observation of English middle class life. There is much humour. I did feel the book was over long and the themes were becoming repetitive. It is hard to see why such a straightforward book was nominated for the Man Booker but who am I to judge?
Overall I enjoyed it.