Thank you kindly to Helen Fitzgerald and the Publisher for the advance copy of this novel.
Baby Noah goes missing from a roadside in Australia and the media attention is intense and extreme. Battling their loss and the attention, Noah's parents Alistair and Joanna slowly start to fall apart. As the search heads ever closer to the truth of what happened to Noah, the blame game begins...
I'm not sure how best to describe "The Cry". The blurb calls it a "psychological thriller" and yes I suppose it is in a way. But I have to say I read it more as a family drama - the characterisation is pure and oh so realistic and Ms Fitzgerald has used real life to great effect - we have all seen on the news many high profile missing children cases where first sympathy abounds then suspicion begins...and how social media can play such a huge role in the pressure put upon parents and the police in these situations. What she has done is put a human face on it - the public can't see what goes on behind closed doors when the 24/7 news cycle goes mad but in this fictional story thats exactly what we get. Brilliantly done.
Timeslips are used to great effect - we see Joanna and Alistair's journey with Noah from leaving Scotland, on various legs of the flight to Australia, at the same time hints and teasers about what is actually going on now. As the strands come together the whole picture emerges...in a fascinating way. There is no real attempt at hiding secrets here - although what you see may not always be what you get - its very much about the emotion behind the mask and how you can never know what really goes on in someone elses head. As Joanna heads further and further into what could almost be called insanity, you will feel for her...and for those around her.
Its an amazing book to be sure. I have read some fantastic books lately, this has been a terrific year for terrific novels - yet I sense that this is the one that will stay with me for a long time. Beautifully written, characters you will relate to and feel for and a story that could so easily be truth you should certainly not miss this one. Cry? Oh yes. Indeed I did.
Happy Reading Folks!
on 22 September 2013
The Cry is the first book I have read by Australian author Helen Fitzgerald, and I immediately took to her writing style, her vivid sense of place and the dynamic and emotionally laden dialogue driving the story. This book is very much about human relationships and the dark places of the soul, the things people are driven to when their backs are up against the wall.
Who has ever spent twelve hours on a plane with a screaming baby? A baby who will not settle despite trying everything in your power to calm him down - facing the ever-increasing frustration and hostility of your fellow passengers. I know the feeling well, I have been there! It was therefore easy to feel Joanna's despair as she desperately tries to settle her nine-week old baby Noah, who is doing his best to scream on top of his lungs the entire way from Glasgow to Australia. Getting increasingly desperate, Joanna blames herself - surely it must be her fault that her child won't settle. Perhaps she is a bad mother, fundamentally flawed in some way, or being punished for having a relationship with Noah's father Alistair whilst he was still married his ex-wife, the mother of his teenage daughter Chloe. She is a home-wrecker, a scarlet woman, a bad mother, a flawed person - accusations driven home by her baby's disconsolate screams, and the disapproval on the other passengers' faces.
Fast-forward a bit and baby Noah is missing, reportedly abducted from his parents' car in rural Australia whilst they quickly ducked into a store to buy some nappies. The media screens desperate pleas by Noah's father to please return his son, whilst the mother, Joanna, looks dazed and stony, as if all of these events were happening to someone else. Exploring Noah's disappearance and subsequent happenings through the eyes of Joanna, Alistair's ex-wife Alexandra and their daughter Chloe, The Cry becomes an emotional roller-coaster ride of people trying to deal with every parents' worst nightmare - that of losing your child.
It is hard to really delve into the details of this novel without giving anything away, so I will keep it brief. Since the author reveals very early on what happens to baby Noah, the main agenda of the novel is not a mystery, but rather the way humans react to trauma and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships. All main characters - Alistair, Joanna and Alexandra - are fundamentally flawed in some way, their dysfunctional relationships driving their decisions. As an observer, I felt these emotions very intensely myself, watching in horror as events slowly, inexorably spiral out of control. And when you think that things cannot get any worse, they do - with a twist at the end which throws everything you have read before into a horrible new light.
The Cry is a brilliantly executed novel. By throwing the characters head-first into a horrible-beyond-words situation, it quickly manages to suck the reader into an emotional whirlpool which leaves its marks long after the final page has been turned. Highly recommended!
on 24 October 2013
This was a real surprise for me.
I'd bought it when it was on offer, and picked it up to read on my Kindle some weeks later with some indifference.
It didn't take long for me to find myself engrossed in the story.
The story, briefly, is around the death of Noah, a baby, and how his parents deal with it.
It hits hard initially, and having forgotten the blurb, I'd not really expected what came next.
I liked the way there is a glimpse of an on-going court case, which (mis)leads into thinking you know the outcome of the story.
It's difficult to add a review to a book with (at this time) 60+ reviews without repeating some of the others.
I did take time to read some of the other reviews, especially the poor ones as I was clearly so at odds with them.
Most of the one-star reviews highlight the 'profanities' in the book. Now, I'm probably fairly liberal in these things, but I had to go back to the book to notice any - so they were, for me, not noticeable and therefore entirely believable in the context of the narrative.
So, if you like the sound of it, go for it, It was one of my best reads of the year so far, and one of the few I've felt like telling people about outside of Amazon.
on 3 October 2013
As a reader, as a rule, I like a nice, uncomplicated linear plot from one character's perspective. I don't usually take kindly to seeing the same situation from more than one point of view, and I don't, in the process, like to deal with the switching of tenses from past to present and back again. And I don't like too many surprises. I guess, in this respect, you'd call me a pretty lazy kind of reader.
However... The Cry somehow managed to do all of these things and keep me totally and utterly gripped and immersed from start to finish. The writing style, the plot and the actual telling of the story is consistently good and so cleverly executed that I couldn't stop reading.
Just buy it and read it.
on 29 December 2013
When the event of the story happened I was unconvinced by their reactions.I finished the novel as I wanted to know their fate but was a bit disappointed with the conclusion. The investigation seemed lame at best, it was just not plausible enough
on 27 August 2013
THE CRY follows the story of parents Joanna and Alastair and the fall-out from the disappearance of there baby. The recriminations of increasing media pressure, combined with social media and the way in which an event such as this leads to widespread discussion amongst informed and uninformed equally, and how this ties into those at the centre of these stories.
Comparisons will be made to real-life cases, however FitzGerald is an incredibly gifted writer, creating a story which will stand-alone. However, that is not to say that she doesn't engage with real-life situations and reactions. Her use of technology, in particular social media, is remarkable. Naturalistic dialogue and the incorporation of those platforms adds so much to the narrative, that it's difficult to imagine anyone reading this novel and not considering their own "tweets" or Facebook posts in reaction to events which have occurred in the past. FitzGerald innately understands that aspect of the human condition - the need to explain things/events which aren't easily explainable - delivering a story which is more pertinent in present society than most.
With stunning writing, characterisation, and storytelling, she deftly weaves a tale with unreliability at its heart. The reader is forever unsure about the true feelings of each character, desperately trying to gauge their reactions to events to figure out the reality behind the façades they build up. The long road which leads to utter darkness and woe, the differences between us all, how there's no one RIGHT way to grieve...everything is laid out bare. At the centre, a morality based tale which will stay with you long after finishing.
Heartbreaking, controversial, and absorbing, THE CRY is an important novel for the social media age. More importantly, it explores grief, relationships, and how each of us reacts to what is arguably a parent's worst nightmare. It's guaranteed to create discussion...everyone will have an opinion on this story. Mine is that it's the best novel of 2013, which is no small feat given what has been a bumper year for fiction.
Set predominantly in Australia, this is a compelling story which I read very fast; it was one of those books that I was loathe to put down. It begins with a scene at the airport, and a flight to Melbourne. Joanna and her partner Alistair are travelling with their baby, and straight from the off, the situations, the prose and the dialogue all draw the reader in, from the difficulties that Joanna faces on the flight, with the baby being so unsettled, to the contrast in others' reactions to her and to her partner. I felt for her so much.
This is a story about which little can be revealed in a review if a prospective reader is going to enjoy the discoveries and twists and turns to the fullest. This tense, dark read offers up an awful situation, the plot kept me guessing, it surprised me and it made me question who was genuine, who was lying, what could I believe, what had been fabricated; an excellent and highly addictive thriller. I'll definitely be looking out for Helen Fitzgerald's previous novels, which I have missed up until now.
on 4 October 2013
I feel some of the reviews maybe overhyped the twists a bit, nonetheless I enjoyed the book and read it within a couple of days so it must have been intriguing enough.
on 15 September 2013
This is a story about Joanna, Alistair and their baby Noah, more characters come into play but these three are the starting point. On a long haul flight from Glasgow to Australia, a distraught Joanna tries to console and quieten an even more distraught and screaming Noah. Once they arrive in Australia Noah goes missing. People are interviewed from the plane, speculation is rife, the news and police are all over it and Joanna and Alistair are hiding a big secret that will threaten everything they have. This is a story that looks at a relationship and what a traumatic event like this can do to a couple and how easily things can spiral out of control.
I went to the author event launch for this book, tickets were free and I wasn't sure what to expect as I had only read one of her books. She read two excerpts from the story, the very beginning and near the end, I had to buy a copy immediately and find out what happens.
Everyone judges people and this book gets into that when the world speculates on what happened to Noah, the Internet is used to show how quickly people make up their own minds and get involved. The heart of the book is centered on the relationship between Joanna, Alistair, his ex wife Alexandra and her daughter Chloe. You find out very early on what happened to the baby so it isn't a who done it or mystery, it focuses on the relationships, manipulation, blame, loss, grief, deceit, anger and hurt, to name a few of the themes going on.
The character are very well carved out, great emotion is evoked when you get a feel for them and some of the choices they make. I went through different emotions with Joanna, I felt for the ex wife and her daughter and I hated Alistair with a passion. The story flips around from the initial lead up to the baby's journey, him going missing, to months later and then back to the initial time period at the start of the tale. Joanna's voice starts the tale and then we flip to Alexandra's, the two time periods and hearing the same events through two people are fantastically done. This doesn't always work out well in stories as I feel you can get confused with the time jumps let alone bringing a second voice into it. Fitzgerald does it with an ease that you follow exactly what is going on without having to jump back a page or two to see who is talking or what time period it is. Also the chapters are listed by whose voice it is in case anyone does have problems following and the month is also listed so you know where in the time scale the story is. The chapters are fairly small, which is always a favorite with me, I found this book hard to put down. Had work not got in the way I would have easily read this in one sitting, this book will take you on an emotional roller coaster and stay with you long after you have finished it. It has taken me days to decide how I would write this review as I have so much to say about things within it however I do not do spoiler reviews so it took a lot of thought. I would recommend this book to everyone, no matter what genre you like as it is a great read that packs a punch and leaves you wanting more. 5/5 for me and I already have a few more by this author on my tbr so I will be reading her again. If she continues along this path I may have to put her on my favorite writers list.
on 24 April 2015
To start with, the blurb is nonsense as the baby doesn't go missing at all. I don't want to spoil it for anyone else but we find out what happened to him very early on in the book - and as none of the characters are in the least engaging everything that happens after that, including the slight twist at the end is just a bit 'Meh'