Saturday, 7 March 2015

Book review - At Journey's End, by Patricia Halloff

I have loved all of Halloff's work, but this book is arguably her masterpiece. A dysfunctional family is laid bare, layer by layer, as if dissected by a surgeon. Starting and ending with an old woman contemplating her, to her, wasted life, we are shown each troubled character from the outside and then from the inside, with the deftness and facility of a master.

The characters, so believable, batter at the closed windows of each other's indifference. We are shown in stark relief the impenetrable barrier of misunderstanding that blocks two people from ever really communicating in any authentic way. As the book progresses, we realise, with mounting horror, that each generation's mistakes are doomed to be repeated by their children as a result of this fundamental failure, and the more terrible the mistake, the more sure it is of being repeated. Each misunderstanding, each terrible hurt inflicted on a person who should have been cherished, is drawn with painstaking detail and accuracy.

It's not the book to pick up for a quick, cheerful mood fix. It will leave you questioning your life, your relationships, everything. But what a powerful piece of work! At Journey's End deserves to become a classic.

At Journey's End is available from AMAZON.

No comments:

Post a Comment