I confess, I like reading ‘junk’ – books to entertain me, to conjure up wild impossibilities and leave reality behind.
Every once in a while, though, I like to read something of better quality, shall we say. Something that leaves me thinking, “Wow”. Like this.
It’s not a fast-paced book. It winds stories within stories, hinting at half-told secrets, misleading you through omission. I felt I knew what was going on, but the way it was told leaves you with doubts: have you got the wrong end of the stick? And even if you ‘guess’ right, the revelation, finally, is still shocking – just to see it finally written down, to understand those consequences that open the book.
Laura Chase kills herself by driving off a bridge; we follow the tale through the eyes of her sister, Iris, writing as an old woman knowing her own death is inevitable, and soon. And so we weave between stark reality of old age, memories of childhood, Iris puzzling over her recollection of Laura, trying to understand this person who shaped her entire life.
Interspersed, we read extracts of a novel within a novel, a love story as piercing as it is dark and murky and real, inexorably entwined with snippets of a wild science fiction tale the lovers create… to escape into? To give themselves something for themselves.
I loved it. It sucked me in and left me with chills.