Review Blog

May 11 2008

The ghost's child by Sonya Hartnett

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Viking 2007
Finding a small boy in her living room one afternoon, Matilda offers him a cup of tea, and together they talk about her life. She is ingenuous, open and honest about the love of her life, Feather, who she met by accident one day on the beach. Her father had taken her around the world in search of the most beautiful thing, and she found it in Feather. When he left, searching for his own stillness, she was distraught and building a boat went off in search of him to ask him why he had left her.

But the west wind told her that life is for going, not stopping, and so after seeing Feather, and realizing that he had found what he wanted to do, she took stock of her life and made something more useful of it, learning to be a doctor and helping the unsighted. Now towards the end of her life, she knows her last voyage is near.
 
Hartnett offers us the most extraordinary writing, disarming in its perceived simplicity, evoking the most tender and terrible of emotions, leading the reader to question the most basic of life's values, asking us to ponder what life is about, why we are here and if love is all there is. And all the while offering us an intriguing story, with the most beguiling of characters.
Fran Knight

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