Saturday, June 17, 2017

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

Paula Hawkins, a freelance journalist from London, firmly proved herself as a versatile writer by publishing romantic comedies under her pen name Amy Silver, as well as huge successful thrillers under her own name. Girl On The Train was a phenomenal bestseller, which she followed up with this second thriller Into The Water.

This book reminds me a lot about The Casual Vacancy by J.K.Rowling(a magnificent read in itself). Both books have the community of a small town in common, who address the impact and involvement of all the inhabitants in solving a mysterious death, with various narrators relating the events to authorities and readers.

From the book's epigraph:
"We now know that memories are not fixed or frozen, like Proust’s jars of preserves in a larder, but are transformed, disassembled, reassembled, and recategorized with every act of recollection. Hallucinations ~ Oliver Sacks"
Breckford, a small town in the British Isles must come to terms with the death of a single mother. A multi-character tale is told in which the truth and the memories populating it, become a conundrum of regrets, secrets, lost opportunities and redemption. Everyone feels guilty, nobody is willing to take the blame.
Erin: "It's a fucking weird place, Beckford. It's beautiful, quite breathtaking in parts, but it's strange. It feels like a place apart, disconnected from everything that surrounds it. Of course, it is miles from anywhere - you have to drive hours to get anywhere civilized. That's if you consider Newcastle civilized, which I'm not sure I do.

Beckford is a strange place, full of odd people, with a downright bizarre history. And all through the middle of it there's this river, and that's the weirdest thing of all - it seems like whichever way you turn, in whatever direction you go, somehow you always end up back at the river.
Those who stayed behind after the latest death of Nel Abbott had to deal with the mysterious attraction to the Drowning Pool in the river for women committing suicide. It was the legends surrounding these mysterious deaths that attracted Danielle(Nel) Abbott to the pool for the book she was writing about these women and their demises.

After her own death, she leaves the unfinished manuscript, as well as a fifteen-year-old daughter behind, who has no father listed on her birth certificate.

Nickie: "Some of them went into the river willingly and some didn't, and if you asked Nickie - not that anyone would, because no one ever did - Nel Abbott went in fighting. But no one was going to ask her and no one was going to listen to her, so there really wasn't any point in her saying anything. Especially not to the police..."

From Nel's manuscript:
The Drowning Pool', Danielle Abbott (unpublished):
I decided, while in the process of trying to understand myself and my family and the stories we tell each other, that I would try to make sense of all the Beckford stories, that I would write down all the last moments, as I imagined them, in the lives of the women who went to the Beckford Drowning Pool.

Its name carries weight; and yet, what is it? A bend in the river, that’s all. A meander. You’ll find it if you follow the river in all its twists and turns, swelling and flooding, giving life and taking it, too. The river is by turns cold and clean, stagnant and polluted; it snakes through forest and cuts like steel through the soft Cheviot Hills, and then, just north of Beckford, it slows. It rests, just for a while, at the Drowning Pool."
As atmospheric as you can wish for; picturesque as you can get, and intriguing as you cannot imagine.

Although the numerous narrators created constant confusion, the storyline was never broken, and the suspense kept flowing strongly along the river of words pulling this gripping saga together.

This is an excellent crime thriller. One of those sleep-snatchers.

Another book in the same genre, worth reading is
Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg.


Paula Hawkins is a British author, best known for her best-selling psychological thriller novel The Girl on the Train, which deals with themes of domestic violence, alcohol, and drug abuse. Wikipedia
Born: 26 August 1972 (age 44), Harare, Zimbabwe
Education: Keble College, Oxford
Movies: The Girl on the Train
Awards: Goodreads Choice Awards Best Mystery & Thriller, Glamour Award for Writer

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