Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Weathered Bones

Here's the very brief [could there be a briefer?] review published in Your Weekend on Saturday - it's the magazine attached to The Dominion, The Press and The Waikato Times. At 160 words, a review like this is a challenge of concision. It's also a challenge to write more than a mere summary of the plot. Before you read the review, here's the online link - you can get a three month trial if you already receive those newspapers. Otherwise read on....

Weathered Bones by Michele Powles [Penguin] $28
Review by Mary McCallum
Your Weekend magazine

I finished Weathered Bones while a storm raged outside our seaside home in Eastbourne. More than a little spooky, as the novel is set in Eastbourne and is racked by storms, water and drowning. This is a story of three women: Eliza, based loosely on Pencarrow Lighthouse keeper Mary Jane Bennett who took on the job in 1855 after her husband drowned; Antoinette whose husband drowns in Wellington harbour in the present day leaving her trying to find meaning in her life, and Grace who’s depressed from a bad relationship and almost drowns. In an audacious burst of magical realism, all three women come to haunt each other in one way or another. There are times when the magic overwhelms the real, the malignant Eliza takes on Disney proportions and the writing is overblown. But the fact remains that the interlocking lives and concerns of the three women are pretty compelling, there’s some fabulous imagery and you can’t help but admire this author’s chutzpah.

4 comments:

Bookman Beattie said...

Brief but well put. I agree, the author's imagery in particular greatly impressed me and I reckon we will read more from this young writer.

artandmylife said...

Bought this book today. My Great Great Grandparents were keeper and wife at Pencarrow ~130 years ago. My GG Grandmothers name was Eliza(beth)

Mary McCallum said...

Artandmylife, that's very cool - hope you enjoy the book. It's an unusual take on an historic subject but a powerful one.

artandmylife said...

Read it. I am not really a fiction person and this book confirmed it. "an audacious burst of magical realism" was a very nice way of putting it. :-)