Saturday, 12 November 2011

The Double Shadow by Sally Gardner

I'm not sure where to start with this one.

I almost gave up after the first few chapters - I felt they were unnecessarily obtuse and difficult. But Sally Gardner's reputation made me pick it up again a few days later.

And I was hooked. A memory story will always suck me in and one written as beautifully as gracefully as this one is just icing on the top. But it's not an easy read.

This story is tragedy with a capital T. We have messed up childhoods, war, betrayal, abuse, neglect, death and a father who loves his daughter so much he wants to build a machine that will erase all the bad memories and leave her with only the happy ones.

The sadness that pervades this story is ultimately redeemed by the power of love. Love comes to the rescue, love overcomes and loves leads the way forward out of the haunting mess created by the memory experiments.

The Double Shadow is a challenging fable for mature readers. It is not an easy book to categorise. It is historical fiction as it is set during the period of time between the 2 World Wars and the memory experiments play around with time as well as memory. But strictly speaking this book stands alone - and mercifully it is a story sans vampires, wolves or dystopian drama!

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