Since Tolstoy, writers have clamored to provide particular variations on that seemingly illimitable theme: the dark heart of the family. In Kate Veitch’s first novel, Without a Backward Glance (originally published as Listen, in Australia, in 2006), Veitch imagines a family whose young mother walks out on Christmas Eve in 1967 and never returns.
The versatile and lovely voice of Edwina Wren carries the listener through several decades of the wounded McDonald family’s life and into that harrowing and unexpected moment of long-awaited truth. The novel follows not the mother, but rather the abandoned children who cope with their unexplained loss in distinct ways.
On Christmas Eve in 1967, a London woman unhappily transplanted to the Australian suburbs makes a decision that will change forever the lives of her four young children. Forty years on, those children are adept at concealing their shared pain. Deborah has a demanding political career, James is a successful artist, Robert a respected school principal. Only Meredith, the baby of the family seems struck. But as their father begins to lose his grip on reality, they find themselves floundering in an unfamiliar sea. And their past is about to reach into t he present in ways that will shock and challenge them all.
I really enjoyed this book. The author has great skill in telling an interesting story with complex and rich characters. Definitely a step above the usual contemporary fiction. It was well-written and narrator was wonderful. I don't often write reviews but had to write one for this. Couldn't put it down.
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