Final cut by S. J. Watson

cover image

Centred on one young woman, Alex visits a town that is familiar to her from the past, but to her it seems that it offers no welcoming feel.  Weaving the narrative between the past and the present, using ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ to orientate the reader, Watson creates a story that is shrouded in mystery and a sense of dread. As a film-maker, Alex is determined to evoke the sense of place in the town, and photographs and films the local pub, the wild sea shore, the places and people who live there. She hopes to evoke her own buried memories but she can barely recall the events that seemingly caused her to leave, realizing that she had forgotten her former name. 

Situating this narrative in the wild coast of Northern England, Watson draws us into the story through the gradual hints of the past that occur and as the story progresses, we read about some of her childhood experiences. Shrouded in a mysterious blankness, she gradually recalls some events that clearly caused her to flee many years ago. Weaving the past and present is a strong hook that captivates the reader and the intriguing nature of her memories.

As a film-maker, Alex is determined to take photographs and film the place and the people whom she meets, somehow hoping that she will be able to recall the events of the past that haunt her.  The discomforting uneasiness is strong as she tries but cannot recall the events that caused her to leave the town, and not return for years, but she does begin to remember some things.  Alex is not her real name but she cannot remember her former name.

Themes: Childhood memories that evoke terror, Fear, Determination to discover the events of the past.

Elizabeth Bondar