Saturday, October 5, 2013

After Her by Joyce Maynard

I love Joyce Maynard`s novels, to me they are a pleasure to be savoured although one could hardly define them as sweet or cutesy, they are not. I think the thing I love most of all are the characters she creates, I still think of those in her earlier book Labor Day with a rare fondness.
This latest book lacks nothing, the narrative pulls you in slowly and then grips you tightly, the characters are exposed layer by layer and revealed in all their humanity, the good, the bad and the mad.There is a rich depth to this novel set in 1979 and loosely based on a serial killer who operated in the mountains of Northern California, destroying not just the lives of those he killed but the lives of their families and those who are charged with hunting him down.
The writing is simply divine and Maynard paints a portrait of a time and place that will resonate with anyone who was a live at that time and though her setting is specific there are so many elements of her story that reach across the oceans especially the song she uses as what I would call a linking thread, I remember the band coming down to NZ on the back of this song, that was the power of its reach. And like the song the book reaches out for you and takes you on a haunting journey, one that has any number of twists and turns that simply leave you stunned; ingenious and very clever are Joyce`s twists and a wonderful way to jazz up your narrative.
A warm and sympathetic read but also tough and gritty, the book will live on with the reader for a very long time, especially because you will find it very hard to let go of the characters.
Available in a gorgeous paperback edition from all good Booksellers and also available via the Library System.

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