Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Year To Learn A Woman | Paddy Richardson

What a writer! I am so pleased to have discovered this wonderful author from New Zealand. Richardson lives in Dunedin, in the South Island and this landscape features strongly in her work.
This is the second novel I've read of hers and I am out hunting down her other two novels. She is very talented and I highly recommended her work to anyone who wants a great story, very well crafted characters and stories which are absorbing and keep you turning the pages even when you should be out there doing something else.
In this story, Claire Wright is a freelance writer who became widowed at a young age. She lives with her teenage daughter and together they have a pleasant suburban life in Christchurch. Out of the blue is is asked to write the authorized biography of a serial rapist who is in prison and has specifically asked for her to ghost write the book. Although full of apprehension Claire takes on the contact due it the huge amount of money she will be paid for it, money which will alloy her and Annie to be able to travel and pay for university fees.
Doing the research leads to contact with Travis Crill, the rapist, and his six victims. There is a lot of discussion among Claire and friends about rape and the impacts on their lives as they become involved in the details of the crime.
At school Annie meets a new arrival, Savannah, from USA who is forceful and possessive and they become best friends. Savannah isn't a great influence and over the year Annie's life turns upside down.
As I read I knew we were heading for disaster, I just couldn't see from which direction it was coming or what form it was going to take...i just braced myself for it and read on! It was like bracing for a car crash and when it happened, it was dramatic, but well handled and resolved. Stunning book. Read everything she's written.
Hunting Blind is her latest.

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