1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
AVOIDING ALL CLICHES,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Quickening (Hardcover)
Julie Myerson is one of the most gifted British novelists currently writing. As she demonstrated some two decades ago with her first novel, "Sleepwalking", she possesses a deft touch for unsettling the reader with a phrase or sometimes even a single word, a touch that is veritably MR James-ian (and I can think of no higher praise). "The Quickening" - like Helen Dunmore's "The Greatcoat" and Jeanette Winterson's "The Daylight Gate" - is a work commissioned by Hammer, and long may they continue commissioning books by writers such as these. In "The Quickening" (which refers to the first flutters of a baby felt by pregnant women), Rachel allows herself to be taken on holiday to a Caribbean resort by her husband, Dan - and I am afraid that it is these two characters who have prevented me from awarding Myerson's book the full five stars I so wanted to give it. Rachel comes across as being a bit half-soaked, Dan as rather insensitive and selfish; you cannot help feeling that were you to encounter them on holiday, you would after day one be giving this pair a wide berth. Yet Myerson's skill as a novelist keeps you turning the pages. She avoids all the hoary old cliches: there are no creaking old houses here, no fog-shrouded graveyards, and the appariton Rachel keeps seeing is suitably hideous and has a disturbing tendency to pop up in daylight - and full, sun-drenched Caribbean daylight at that. Is she going mad? This one of the many ambiguities Myerson has weaved into her narrative (one that is not satsifactorily pursued is the vexing question of whether or not Dan has visited this island before), and, along with Myerson's seductive prose, they will keep you guessing, and reading avidly, until the end.