The Consequences of Marriage by Isla Dewar Headline, HK$132 Isla Dewar has created in her protagonist an elderly woman as spirited and idiosyncratic as can be without coming off as batty. The Consequences of Marriage pivots around Bibi Saunder, although its overarching theme draws in the lives and loves of others. The novel opens with Bibi and her young lodger James, a car enthusiast and an 'unfortunate' marked by clumsiness and diffidence. A loser in love (his first and only relationship involved a 14-year-old girl who lied about her age), he fortifies himself with vitamins, meditation and organic vegetables, while his landlady consumes chocolate biscuits for breakfast. Bibi, a widow, is under the false impression that her days are limited, after having read the grim medical prognosis for another patient and believed it to be hers. So she plans to say her goodbyes by embarking on a trip across Britain to visit her family. James becomes her driver and, as they clock the kilometres, she recounts her unconventional marriage to Callum, a trade unionist and poet with whom she raised five children. Among them is Graham, who ran away and was never heard from again. Dewar, who is sometimes likened to Anita Shreve, deserves bouquets for having written a novel so full of humour and hurt. Once you start, you won't be able to stop.