If you found Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine too flabby and Rick Gekoski’s Darke too jagged, then Looking for Eliza is a pleasingly Goldilocks compromise. Or should that be Pinkilocks? For into Ada’s life comes Eliza, a drifting millennial with dyed pink hair. Bruised after a break-up with her gaslighting girlfriend, Eliza is living in a single room and trying (failing) to write a doctorate on Primo Levi. The generations clash — and come together.
This is unashamed ‘Up Lit’, as gentle and restorative as a breeze on May Morning. With Eliza’s encouragement, Ada begins to write again: poems about Holly Willoughby, persimmons and bad TV. ‘I’ve never believed the idea that happiness writes white,’ says Ada. ‘Especially at first, grief wrote white for me.’ Friendship is Ada’s salvation. This lovely, consoling hug of a novel is a tonic for our times.