Australian author, Clare L Rolfe, takes readers on a breathtaking philosophical journey in her debut novel Ten Letters to Delacroix's Tomb.
'This universe exists to create beauty and takes it away to allow more to come... nothing ends only begins again in another vision.' pg 208
Jenna, a woman on a heartbreaking quest to reunite with her lost love after 40 years of slavery, remembers a long and complicated life, one lived in the final days of Earth's sun.
Navigating the unforgiving landscape of a dying world, Jenna battles many obstacles and considers the nature of our existence, freedom, redemption and survival, as she remembers her own struggles as both a victim and perpetrator of violence.
I absolutely love books that keep me thinking even after I've put them down and this was definitely one of them. I also absolutely loved how the 10 letters were given in reverse and written in such a way that I could not even guess what would happen (and normally Im really good at guessing endings).
When I read this book I found myself thinking about Jenna and her journey even while doing mundane tasks like my dishes (which is normally a time I crave the distraction of YouTube). It was a nice change to just allow my mind to ponder the story and where Jenna's journey would be taking her.
I read the final chapters in great anticipation to discover what it was that she had hidden inside her clothing that was so important that she had to kept so close to her chest (an item that is not revealed until the final chapter of course).
Think of a world so ravaged by man's own greed, that all semblance of civil society is discarded. Some people are bond slaves, some, masters. One woman throws off her shackles and escapes, and follows her heart on a quest through a surreal and ravaged world to find a place where she once knew happiness. Perhaps something like The Road meets The Handmaid's Tale with a little of The Hunger Games thrown in. Filled with gorgeous and devastating scenes, a half built palace in a lost desert oasis, treasures broken and buried in the wreckage of the world's great cities. Utterly changed landscapes of a doomed world, a longing for that lost civilisation, combined with the certain knowledge that this doom is its consequence, perhaps finding redemption, perhaps not. All told in a measured and stately poetic language. Fabulous reading!