It starts off well. In an inner city suburb of Auckland, Megan Sligo runs a mending and alteration business from her home. She has married into money, and lives a pleasant sort of existence, her pleasure in her work coming from finding out the stories behind the people and the clothes they bring in for her to work on. On the day that Auckland suffers a catastrophic power cut that leaves the inner city area without power for five weeks, a young Irish woman comes to Megan with an Irish dancing costume to be repaired. Megan, being an astute judge of character by now, quickly realises that the young woman, like many of her clients, is having an affair with someone she shouldn't. Before long she meets the lover who also happens to be Irish, and then his wife, and so begins the next stage of this story. Despite herself, Megan is drawn to the guilty husband, attracted by what the Irish dress represents, and the stories the husband tells. Throughout this book however, there is a sense of unease about the husband that Megan does not want to see. And taking place against the surreal world of Auckland city basically turned into a ghost town, Megan finds herself disoriented, confused, unsettled. But then so does everyone else.
This surrealism - a large city completely incapacitated without power, residents, businesses and people leaving in droves, and yet some remaining, living without hot water, power, air con, shops, cooking facilities - is what I actually did enjoy reading about. A very weird sort of existence, and it is not surprising that those who remain, such as Megan and her husband, do find things get a little distorted and out of sorts. But really, it is just too long, too repetitive, and unfortunately was not able to hold my interest.