Monday, November 24, 2008

"I first saw the photograph on a hot January afternoon in my mother's bedroom."

As I started reading John Harwood's The Ghost Writer, I realized that I might not ever have read a book set in Australia. Isn't that strange? There have been stories that mentioned Australia as a destination (especially for convicts and people escaping debt or danger) but I can't recall a book set in the land down under. Of course, not much of this book has anything to do with Australia but it felt nice to have a change of weather, so to speak.

This story was simply one where nothing was as it seemed. Gerard knows his mother has secrets, especially pertaining to the reason that she relocated from England to Australia, but she never tells him about her past except for stories about a country house. Gerard has his own secrets, especially about his invalid penfriend, Alice. His mother knows about the letters but not about the intimacy growing between Alice and Gerard. Eventually, Gerard sets off to England to learn more about his mother, his authoress great-grandmother and, most of all, Alice.

I really liked the way that Harwood included Viola's short stories in the book and in the plot. It was a clever direction to take and led to multiple layers of suspense. The only complaint I had was the quick and slap-dash ending. I feel like there were too many questions left unanswered for me at the end. Although, I think his point was that Gerard was left with these same questions and no way to ever find answers.

If you are looking for a good winter fireside read, go ahead and pick up this book!

Wondering where all the ideas come from,

Buy The Ghost Writer on Amazon or find it at your local library.

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