by John Boyne

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Featured image for Water

This is the fourth of John Boyne’s books I’ve read and before this he was on two hits and a miss with me. This book is the first of a quartet of linked short novels, I know the second is ‘Earth’ and I’d guess the final two will be ‘Air’ and ‘Fire’ though I guess he could go with ‘Wind’ or take the titles someplace else entirely. We will see (I looked it up, it’s ‘Fire’ and then ‘Air’, no surprises). And I will see because I’m pretty certain I’ll be there reading them.

In this instalment we meet Willow Hale, who just changed her name when she arrived on an island off the coast of Ireland. We quickly learn that she’s escaping from a scandal and it’s gradually revealed what has happened within her family. The story is both big national news scale and small interpersonal relationship scale, but also just about being within Willow’s head as she works through what has happened and examines her own culpability. It’s interesting, absorbing and very well written.

I kind of wish they hadn’t felt the need to trail what happens in ‘Earth’ at the end of the book. That kind of thing makes me feel the way I feel when TV shows run you straight into the start of the next series before the credits have run on the last episode. If I liked it (and I did) then I’m going to keep going, if I didn’t like it I’m not going to be interested. Either way it’s just annoying. I want some space to absorb what I’ve just experienced, to reflect and some space to breathe. Much like Willow needs here. But that’s just me having issues with the marketing, I will definitely be reading the next volume soon, this was another hit with me.