This narrative gripped me from the start because of its strong voice, that of a contemporary young man who does not seem out of place to strangers in the modern Anglophonic world. The reader is never aware of the author’s presence as she maintains this deep point of view to the end. The result is that we are constantly right there in the shoes of the protagonist-narrator, perceiving and feeling all that he does. It makes for a powerful experience indeed.
The story takes us from England to Australia and back; differences between the geographical and cultural environments are conveyed deftly. Fascination deepens quickly with the mystery of family history and deception, intertwining with verifiable facts of murder investigations as well as possibilities still to be explored. Characters emerge vividly, and much interest comes from the way relationships among them change as they discover more about each other. (It’s probably because of my own personal weakness, but I was sometimes briefly confused about who was who in the large cast of minor characters.)
The central theme of this novel, it’s probably fair to say, is the varied forms love takes and the different ways it is acted out. But there’s also hatred, murder, and some cruelty that I can only describe as evil. And yet, at the same time, there is humour coming largely from the personality of the narrator and his witty, educated but colloquial language.
Very soon after starting to read this novel, you’ll know you’re in the hands of a highly intelligent and skilled story-teller. If you let her carry you through, you'll be very, very satisfied.