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*If you're looking for a delightful and refreshing read that is as well-written as it is well-conceived, DAISY CHAIN delivers. Elspeth Duncan has conjured 53 individuals, each with a tenuous connection to the next, and allows us to eavesdrop momentarily on their lives. We soon realise that these sometimes poignant, sometimes humorous, always resourceful women in part reflect ourselves. Although choosing a favourite from among these vignettes is difficult, Philomene returns to mind most often. I can't decide whether in her situation, appearance or reality is preferable. Another favourite is Mena, an unforgettable little tyrant whose parents can unwittingly take full credit for her obnoxious behaviour. I particularly liked the hilarious rendition of the newlyweds increasingly ominous journey to their remote honeymoon destination. Best of all is Duncan's knack for elevating to an inspirational level tales that might be merely entertaining from another author's keyboard.
DAISY CHAIN is an ingenious piece of writing. As the title suggests, the fifty-three characters into whose lives the reader gets a brief glimpse are linked one to the next by a "teaser" from the author, thus creating a chain effect. This technique serves as a vehicle for the threaded philosophy of life that runs throughout the work. More than the links in the "chain", i.e., the individual characters whose narratives connect one to the next, the virtue of the work is the subliminal narrative that IS itself the chain. The [literal] chain that is introduced in the first narrative serves as a metaphor for the subliminal narrative, underscoring the fact that we are all inextricably linked to our destiny.