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The Beauty of Impossible Things de Rachel…

The Beauty of Impossible Things (edição: 2021)

de Rachel Donohue (Autor)

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721,961,849 (4.5)Nenhum(a)
Título:The Beauty of Impossible Things
Autores:Rachel Donohue (Autor)
Informação:Corvus (2021), Edition: Main, 320 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca

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The Beauty of Impossible Things de Rachel Donohue


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Fifteen year old Natasha lives with her mother in a decaying house just outside a seaside resort. The relationships between the locals and the summer visitors are tense and when Mr Bowen arrives to lodge with them, Natasha senses that her life is about to change. Natasha has a gift of prediction and she sees events that change the entire town.
I loved most of this book. the supernatural is played down and the details of what Natasha sees are secondary to the fact that she does see things. It is really a tale about first love and adolescent angst but is beautifully written and memorable ( )
1 vote pluckedhighbrow | Jul 17, 2021 |
As she reflects on a tragic summer of thirty years earlier, a time when she had been described by some as ‘open to powers from beyond … a dark ingénue’, forty-five-year-old Natasha is the narrator of this dark, melancholic story. By the end of the first paragraph the reader discovers that during these intervening years she had ‘learned to let their words go ... forgetting became an essential part of getting older.’ However, in the second paragraph it becomes clear that a therapist she is now seeing is encouraging her to remember, although exactly what has triggered her decision to seek help, so long after the disturbing events of that summer, isn’t revealed. The author used this literary device in a very effective way to reveal Natasha’s experiences as a teenager, whilst simultaneously offering her more mature insights into the impact they have had on her life since then. I don’t want to go into much detail about the story because I think it’s powerful impact comes from following the various ways in which the unfolding events of that long, hot summer affect not only how Natasha deals with revealing her precognitive ‘gift’, but also the long-lasting impact this will have on her relationships with her mother, her friends and people in the community.
Rachel Donohue’s wonderful use of language (such eloquent, lyrical prose) engaged me from the first page, quickly drawing me into the ever-increasing sense of fear, of impending disaster, of suspicion, of unease and of scepticism which held the whole community – locals, tourists and visiting reporters alike – in thrall during those few weeks. The tension, both between the various key characters and within the wider community, was gradually intensified and this, combined with a decidedly spooky, gothic eeriness, at times felt almost unbearably all-pervasive and inescapable. Her descriptions of her characters’ changing behaviour during these few weeks vividly captured a sense of mounting mass-hysteria, and of passions being inflamed by the oppressive nature of the heatwave, all of which added to the unease being felt by everyone as the mystery of the strange lights was fiercely debated. What did they mean? Were they harbingers of doom or were they an as yet unexplained, but perfectly natural phenomena?
Central to the story is an exploration of the intensely close relationship between Natasha and her mother Elizabeth, and the rather solitary lives they live in their somewhat decrepit house on the cliff. The house is described by one character as ‘… a haughty house, part of the town but not’, a description which could equally well be used to define how the townsfolk regard its occupants. An important element in the mother/daughter relationship, and part of the reason for their apparent self-sufficiency, lies in an incident which happened when Natasha was a very small child, when a fortune teller told her mother that she had ‘the mark of a psychic on her palm’. That same night Natasha had a dream about the fortune teller and when she shared this with her mother, Elizabeth began to cry and her daughter saw this as a warning that ‘I should speak very little about who I really was’. This became an unspoken vow which Natasha broke only once: when she was ten years old she shared a vivid premonition of a disaster involving a local fishing boat. Her mother attempted to reassure her that nothing bad would happen but it did, leaving Natasha with a sense of guilt that she hadn’t done anything to prevent the tragedy. The adult Natasha reflects: ‘She hid things away, we both did, it was one of the few things we excelled at.’ However, when the strange blue lights appeared during the summer she was fifteen, Natasha felt unable to keep silent any longer and from that moment, one which happened to coincide with the arrival of their summer lodger, the handsome Mr Bowen, her relationship with her mother, and with others in the community, irrevocably changed.
I’m full of admiration for the many ways in which the author combined the natural ‘coming of age’ aspects of these changes on Natasha with reflections on friendships and with what it means to be different, to stand apart from the norms of society. She also very effectively captured the angst which accompanies the powerful effect of peer pressure on the dynamics of teenage relationships – as I read I found myself feeling very relieved that those years of acute self-consciousness are now many decades behind me!
When I read The Temple House Vanishing last year (the author’s debut novel) the final words of my review were that I’d be ‘looking forward to reading whatever Rachel Donohue writes next’ and, as you’ll by now have gathered, my high expectations have been fulfilled. I described her first novel as a hauntingly atmospheric, reflective and, at times, deeply sad and disturbing story, words which feel equally appropriate to use about her second. However, I found that her explorations of local folklore, the mystical and the supernatural added fascinating and thought-provoking extra dimensions to this story and think that these aspects alone would provide reading groups with plenty of ideas to discuss and debate!
With thanks to Readers First and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
1 vote linda.a. | May 6, 2021 |
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