Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Monday, 27 December 2010

"Non e mia figlia" by Sophie Hannah (Garzanti, 2008)

It was published originally as "Little Face". The chapters mainly alternate between 2 timelines, one starting a week after the other. It's a page-turner, and I liked the observations. The outcome remains delicately poised - as well as there being an unreliable narrator, some of the detectives have their own agendas. I wasn't convinced by Alice's mood changes (in particular how in her sanest moments she doesn't try to account for her stranger ones) but that doesn't turn out to be a problem. Also some of the plot twists were predictable (the discovery of the tape recorder was pointless unless it was going to be used to secretly record). New people are introduced by a description of face/figure, then hair, then clothes, then shoes - fair enough I suppose.

The final chapter tries to justify the actions and the secrecy - I wasn't entirely convinced (didn't she have enough evidence to involve the police earlier? did she really have wait until Simon believed her? wasn't her plan full of things that could have backfired?), but by then you either like the novel or you don't. There were many red herrings - I thought twins were going to be involved, that Simon was gay, etc - but in the end I thought they were fair. I wasn't convinced by Charlie's past.

The PoV dipped into too many heads for my liking. Charlie's consciousness makes a guest appearance. In chapter 18 at one point we're told that "they" all feel the change of atmosphere.

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