Sunday, 24 October 2010
Talking to the Dead by Helen Dunmore
After enjoying The Siege by Helen Dunmore I decided to see if I would enjoy any of her other books considering I have brought ten of them (they were on special offer and came as a set, I'm not mad)
The actual plot is not anything particularly new. The main protagonist Nina visits her sister Isabel to help out after the difficult birth of Isabel's baby. The novel then has the set up of two sisters, family secrets, set during a hotter than average Summer, secrets threaten to wrench them apart etc etc. Despite the familiar set up though I could not put this book down.
There are a lot of dark themes running throughout the book and the two sisters Nina and Isabel are not particularly likeable (in fact almost hateful) but I was desperate to know what happened next and the writing conjured up a wonderfully tense atmosphere.
I'm not giving much away but I will say that the plot had me guessing right up to (and I'm not exaggerating) the last sentence. This novel is disturbing and at times I was shocked by events but it is also additively intriguing.
"Slowly, slowly, I push open the door of Susan's room. I make no sound. The pale curtains are drawn, and the room smells of the new pine furniture, and baby sleep. He is rosy with the heat, his hair damp, his fist up to his face. He is sleeping on his side, and Isabel has put a rolled up towel beside him so he can't turn onto his face. I creep right up to the cot. His weight dents the mattress. He looks more solid than I've ever seen him. Already he's changing, filling out, and that fist by his face looks strangely mature."
Would I recommend this? Even if you don't happen to come across this particular book, its worth picking up a book by this author and if you haven't already because as demonstrated above the writing is wonderful.
Posted by Jess