Saturday, 11 October 2008
Hodder & Stoughton €14.99
WHAT a baffling book this is - until you realise that it's Jodi Picoult's first, published way back in 1992 and now reissued.
The story is all over the place, told in fractured scenes, with the culmination repeated in fragments.
Jane Jones is escaping a marriage that's sliding into violence by driving with her daughter Rebecca to her brother. star-
But her husband, a world-famous marine biologist who knows more than anyone else about the songs of the humpback whale, has spent his life tracking whales, sets out to track his wife and daughter.
Two love affairs, the death of a lover, a childhood of abuse and the maturation of a teenager in an extended road move are rattled around and thrown out again in a fragmented story.
Jane and Rebecca are heading towards the apple farm where Jane's brother Jolie works. They find three men there: the owner, Sam, and his employees Jolie and Hadley.
The novel was controversial because of its age-barrier-crossing shock tactics - Sam and Hadley are both 25, and the mother falls for one and the daughter for the other.
This was and is a bestseller. Don't let me put you off.
I didn't much like it. Oliver isn't a particularly nasty guy; a pain in the ass, certainly, and a control freak - but half of the women of Ireland are married to that.
But be assured, you're in the hands of an expert, even in Picoult's first published novel.