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Sunday 24 November 2019

‘Pursuit’ by Joyce Carol Oates

Published by Head of Zeus,
3 October 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-838-93302-9 (HB)

Why would a seemingly happy young new bride appear to deliberately step out in front of a moving bus?

We learn that when Abby was a child, she had a recurring nightmare of human skeletons laying in the long grass. The night before her wedding she has the same dream again, the first time for years. It appears she has a secret past to hide and is ridden with guilt. She is sure she should not be happily married, is this why she stepped off the kerb?

Abbey is very badly injured, and her new husband Willem stays with her in hospital every moment that he is allowed, also even sleeping in the grounds unobserved. He is determined to get to the truth about what happened, tells her his love will help her through whatever it is.

Slowly as she recovers over the weeks in hospital, she tells him about the nightmares and what happened to her as a child. Something she has never disclosed to anyone, revealing a traumatic experience that has affected her ever since.

She hopes that when she has shared with her loving husband the knowledge of what she went through she will be free of the terrible guilt she still feels. But will she? Will he understand?

A beautifully told moving story of how a person's past can affect the rest of their lives and how guilt can eat away at them. It may be only a relatively short book, but it will leave me with long memories of a child's dilemma.

Recommended for those who enjoy a mystery which slowly and gently unravels itself.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Joyce Carol Oates was born 16 June 1938 Lockport, New York. She published her first book in 1963 and has since published over 40 novels, as well as a number of plays and novellas, and many volumes of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction. She is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, and the National Book Award. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national best sellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, and The Falls. Oates has taught at Princeton University since 1978 and is currently the Roger S. Berlind '52 Professor Emerita in the Humanities with the Program in Creative Writing, and is the editor of New Jersey Noir.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.


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