I was reading this book at the same time as a Man Booker winner and it provided some light relief from the stress of the heavier read. Having since discussed it with my book group, however, I realise just how thin and, frankly, unbelievable Landline really was.
Georgie McCool (What!!?), is a TV comic script writer, married to Neil, a gifted cartoonist who has chosen to be the stay-at-home parent. On the whole he is pretty tolerant of her intense work schedule and her very close working relationship with her long-term colleague, Seth. But when Georgie announces that she can't go to Omaha for Christmas with Neil's family, due to a chance of a lifetime opportunity, he decides to take the two children and go without her. This seemed to me a perfectly reasonable option, but Georgie gets the idea that he's left her and worries that she has made a grave error in her relationship.
OK so far, but then she discovers that the landline in her mother's house connects her to a much younger Neil, before they were married. The whole idea of a magic phone into the past could have been passed off as hallucinations caused by stress, except that Georgie's sister also answered it, which meant we were forced to take the story at face value.
After this dose of magical realism, the ending felt rather abrupt and unsatisfactory, and what about the time-warp Neil, who should have been on his way back to propose? Hmm, just a bit too unbelievable for me.
I read this because it was suggested as one of the discussion books of the year but I'm afraid my book group felt it fell well short of this promise.