- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Text Publishing (29 October 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1925773132
- ISBN-13: 978-1925773132
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 22.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 399 g
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fragments, The Paperback – 29 Oct 2018
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is intriguing . The ending is most satisfying. This book is well written.
It tells the story of a famous book that was never published. Destroyed in a fire in 1938 all that are left are charred fragments. In 1983 these fragments travel to Brisbane and Caddie can't resist seeing them being a life long fan o the writers first and only book. A chance encounter on her way home sparks a hunt for the truth.
It is beautifully writer, it is sad, it is funny and I just loved it so much! You need to read this book.
Almost fifty years later, there’s a Karlson exhibition in Brisbane. The scorched fragments of the second book are a feature. One of those attending the exhibition is Cadence (Caddie) Walker. Caddie is a Brisbane bookseller and, because of her admiration of Inga Karlson, knows the words of the fragments by heart. Caddie meets an older woman at the exhibition. This woman quotes a phrase from the Karlson fragments. It’s a phrase that Caddie knows does not exist, yet it sounds genuine.
Who is this older woman? Could she have had access to the second novel? How? Caddie is puzzled and interested enough to try to find out more.
The story shifts between New York in the 1930s and Brisbane in the 1980s. In alternate chapters, we learn about Rachel Lehrer, who fled a violent home in the 1930s to seek a better life, and Caddie Walker who seems to be in limbo. Caddie had dreams but has retreated from pursuing them.
Two women, separated by half a century, each wanting something different. So, how do the fragments connect them? Caddie tries to find the older woman, to learn more. But her search takes her into aspects of her own past that are uncomfortable. As the story shifts from one woman to the other, I found it very difficult to stop reading. I wanted to know just who Rachel Lehrer was, and I wanted Caddie to realise her own strength.
And the ending? Totally satisfying.
Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Text Publishing for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.
Alternating chapters chart Caddie’s increasing interest in the Karlson story in 1986 and Rachel’s story in pre-WWII US. We learn that Rachel knew Inga well. Very well. Two other people join Caddie in her interest: Jamie, who runs an antiquarian bookshop and Philip, a charming, egocentric and ruthless academic who was once Caddie’s lover. Jamie was also once Philip’s student. Philip appropriated Jamie’s work on Karlson as his own. Just as sparks between Caddie and Jamie are starting to fly, Caddie visits Philip for the first time in years and asks if the typesetter for Inga’s second book could have been female, thinking that this may account for Rachel’s knowledge of the second book. This is enough for Philip to start chasing dreams of academic glory and money and citing a family emergency, he flies to the US to see what he can find out. In the end, Caddie agrees to work on the arson angle, which involves an American Nazi, leaving Rachel and everything else to Philip. It’s beyond embarrassing for Caddie when Jamie discovers that she’s working with Philip. She also has severe doubts about forcing Rachel (when they find her) to become involved in what will be a blast of publicity worldwide.
We begin to guess the truth of what happened (which is a very nice twist) and Caddie pulls off a seriously good stunt to save Rachel from Philip and the limelight. Well written and intriguing. Gives a terrific sense of Brisbane too.