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Things Without a Name Paperback – 25 November 2018
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- Publisher : Joanne Fedler Media (25 November 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 404 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0648283860
- ISBN-13 : 978-0648283867
- Dimensions : 15.2 x 2.28 x 22.9 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 867,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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This novel was gifted to me and I really didn’t know what to expect, but I ended up *inhaling* it in about two-days, and now I’m looking around for anything and everything else the author has written!
First of all: this is not an ‘easy’ novel. Protagonist Faith is a woman dramatically altered by two deaths that book-ended her childhood; that of her infant brother when she was three, and her chronically ill 17-year-old best friend. When we meet her, Faith is in her 30s and working as a legal counsellor at a women's rape and domestic abuse agency. And despite everything in her life pointing her to the contrary, Faith is still a woman who believes in love and the ability for one’s fortunes to change … which is exactly what happens when a strange sequence of events turns her world upside down.
Beyond seeing this as a ‘Women’s Fiction’ offering, I was really surprised at the heights and depths ‘Things Without a Name’ took me to. On the one hand it is a deeply moving and serious literary fiction novel, but on the other there is romance, a certain gossamer lightness, openness and hope that I think makes it a wonderful general-fiction offering.
For these reasons, I actually found Joanne Fedler to be reminiscent of Jodi Picoult for me – not necessarily in the voice and style of writing, but in the way they both take the personal and political to weave an incredible story. And the same way Picoult immerses herself in research for her books, I was impressed (but not in the least bit surprised) to learn of Fedler’s background as a volunteer legal counsellor at People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) before setting up and running a legal advocacy centre to end violence against women. She was also appointed by the then Minister for Justice to sit on a project committee of the Law Commission to design new domestic violence legislation.
That this is Fedler’s life absolutely sings through the story – sometimes in sombre tones, and then occasionally with a piercingly lovely tune. There is a tenderness and rawness to this story that I so appreciated. And it makes the love within resonate that much louder and lovelier, because it’s hard-won for Faith and readers alike.
As if all of that wasn’t impressive enough – and the story so thoroughly captivating – I got another dose of tingles when I came to the book’s appendix and Fedler imprinted me with one more haunting message;
"When writing a book, an author has the freedom to choose any names for her characters. I have elected to use the names of people who have lost their lives to domestic violence or in the course of sexual assault. I came across these people’s stories in the press from various countries (including Australia, South Africa, India, Jamaica, Canada and the USA). Below are a few lines that describe the trauma and loss of each life, which nevertheless can never convey the dimen- sions and horrors of their suffering. I have, with respect to all those who have died, borrowed their names to tell this story."
And then she listed them, told their story - and absolutely wrecked me.
I’m going to pass this book around to friends and family, and hope they get the same jolt out of it that I did. A somewhat unassuming story – as some of the best ones are – that shook me and reassembled me in the best possible way. Magnificent.