Top positive review
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A chilling thriller!
on 1 January 1999
This is part of my working my way through the 1998 Orange Prize Shortlist. I have to say I liked this ones style over that of the winner (Larry's Party by Carol Shields).
There are two threads to the novel - the present day one centres on Jean , photographer with an obsession about a multiple murder of two Norwegian immigrant women on an island of the New Hampshire coast in the 1870s. She is there with alcoholic poet husband (Thomas )and daughter, on board brother in law's boat with him and girlfriend (Adaline) to take research photos of the island. She becomes more and more to believe that Adaline is having an affair with Thomas.
The other thread is that of the Norwegians. The great voice of the novel is from this thread. It is Maren, the surviving sister. Her account of her early life in Norway, how she came to America, the life there with her husband and later as they are joined by her sister, her brother and his wife is a brilliant portrayal of just how hard a life fishing communities had in those days, especially surviving the terrible cold of NH island winters, the claustrophobia of several people living in a small house, unable to venture forth at all during those winter months.
Chilling! I definitely recommend this thriller.