Post Script: Dancing on Knives – Kate Forsyth

Poetic, lyrical, haunting.

Dancing on Knives

Kate Forsyth

Random House Australia Pty Ltd

Vintage Australia

ISBN: 9780857983466

  

Description:

A damaged family and their generations of dangerous secrets At twenty, Sara is tormented by terror so profound she hasn’t left her home in five years. Like the mermaid in the fairytale her Spanish grandmother once told her, Sara imagines she is dancing on knives. She feels suffocated by her family, especially her father – the famous artist Augusto Sanchez – whose volcanic passions dominate their lives. Then one stormy night, her father does not come home. His body is found dangling from a cliff face. Astonishingly, he is still alive, but the mystery of his fall can only be solved by the revelation of long-held family secrets. At once a suspenseful murder mystery and a lyrical love story, Dancing on Knives is about how family can constrict and liberate us, how art can be both joyous and destructive, and how strength can be found in the unlikeliest places.

 

My View:

This is my first foray into the writing of acclaimed author Kate Forsyth and I am pleased that I had no expectations other than this being an interesting read. I was intrigued by the introduction, the gruesome retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid where the mermaid agrees to have her tongue cut out in exchange for a human form so she can court the prince she loves and though she will have legs in place of a tail she will forever feel like she is dancing on knives; what a gruesome yet intriguing story and one that perfectly describes the terrors that afflict and restrict the life of the protagonist, Sara.

 

I really enjoyed the lush description of food, family and art; the good times, juxtaposed against the anxiety that Sara feels under the rule of her domineering and selfish father, Augusto – his bad times suffocate the entire family in a lead shroud. There are characters aplenty for all to love or hate, characters that are largely sympathetic with the male centric times when this piece was originally written (by the then sixteen year old Kate). Kate Forsyth certainly knows how to set scenes and to create memorable characters.

 

However whilst I enjoyed many aspects of the writing per se I felt that the conclusion was a little rushed and simplistic and echoed of the old fashioned romances I read as a teenager (and they were dated then), the descriptions of Sara’s first sexual experience – a story of blood and semen that discloses to her partner her previous virginal state ….so melodramatic and 60’s, our protagonist “rescued” by her sexual awakening …..was just a little over the top for me and spoilt what had been an interesting story but perhaps this ending is more a reflection of the sensibilities surrounding the time of Kate’s childhood? An interesting read.

 

 

Post Script: The Good Girl – Mary Kubica

 

A delicious twist in the tail and you won’t see this coming.

The Good Girl

Mary Kubica

Harlequin

Harlequin MIRA

ISBN: 9780778316558

 

Description:

“I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”

 

Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.

 

Colin’s job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.

 

An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a propulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems….

 

My View:

First look at the book trailer – it is amazing – I love the way that in under 2 minutes the tone and tension have been set. It is an incredible feat to capture so much with so little – the pulsing/flickering light and music really add to this atmosphere – brilliant.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjuWLHM_4GY

 

 

An amazing debut novel – the scene is set and tone is threatening, the characters are well drawn with some you will love and some you will despise. This is a novel where nothing you think is true actually is…so many twists and turns and so much sadness. I liked the character of Gabe Hoffman – his terrier like instinct to keep on, to not stop looking, and to check out all leads. And he was compassionate and patient. I felt very sorry for Eve – Mia’s mother and the invisible cage she was in. This indeed is a story about cages, two women trapped, chains are not always visible. Indeed you could go as far as say that Colin was also trapped/limited by his circumstances too.

 

This book raises so many issues – subtly, is doesn’t hit you over the head with them, but gently prods as your conscience and makes you consider the what if, what would I have done, how would I have reacted? And then it bowls you over with the totally surprising ending. Well done Mary Kubica! If this is your debut novel what gems to you planned for us in the future?

 

IMG_2637 - Copy

 

Grand Marais, Minnesota – Authors blog – http://www.marykubica.com/blog/

 

 

 

 

 

Post Script: Me After You, A True Story About Love and Loss and Other Disasters – Lucie Brownlee

Honest, open and raw.

Me After You

Lucie Brownlee

Random House UK, Ebury Publishing

Virgin Books

ISBN: 9780753555835

 

Description:

‘He crashed on to the pillow next to me, heavy as a felled oak. I slapped His face and told Him to wake up.

Our daughter, B, appeared in the doorway, woken up by the screaming – I must have been screaming but I don’t remember – and she was crying and peering in. I told her the ultimate adult lie; that everything was all right.’

 

Sudden death is rude. It just wanders in and takes your husband without any warning; it doesn’t even have the decency to knock. At the impossibly young age of 37, as they were making love one night, Lucie Brownlee’s beloved husband Mark dropped dead.

As Lucie tried to make sense of her new life – the one she never thought she would be living – she turned to writing to express her grief.

 

My View:

  

I have been struggling with what I will write in this review – somebodies memories are what they are – memories and personal reflections. This is not a work of fiction where you can like or dislike the characters, or look for the plot twist or know it will all work out ok in the end. This is real. This life. And this is at times emotionally raw and blunt.

 

I picked up this book because I was looking for answers – I am not grieving but someone close to me is and it breaks my heart not being able to help them in their time of need. I discovered that grieving whether for a relationship that has been severed or a partner or relative that has died, no matter what reason…is difficult, traumatic, exhausting and so very personal. No one can feel the loss the way you feel the pain. No one can rally help you “get over” the severance of that cord that bound you together. You have to do that yourself and that takes time.

 

What I learned is that you can help by providing company, being a sounding board, checking in and seeing that everything is ok, giving hugs, providing the physical help – doing the dishes, hanging out the washing, making meals, reminding the grieving one that they are achieving, they have coped with organising/ dealing with all those mundane things that still need attention at this time; moving house, arranging/dealing with insurance companies, government departments, rental agencies, getting up each day and facing the next one…and by sharing that one day when you least expect it you will notice that life is just a little easier and the weight on your shoulders a little lighter.

 

This is a brave, at times blunt and open personal story of love and loss and the road to recovery.

 

 

 

 

My View: