Monday, 5 August 2019

The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean

"We lost all three girls that summer. Let the slip away like the words of some half-remembered song, and when one came back, she wasn't the one we were trying to recall to begin with".

This had a moody and tragic feel that made me christen it the "Australian Virgin Suicides". It transported me back to the innocent days of youth, where our perceptions are somewhat foggy, preoccupied by fitting in and surviving. That's not to say this isn't an enjoyable read. Despite the grim subject, its levity is supremely engaging. In that regard it reminds me of the movie Stand by Me whose source was the prolific Stephen King.

Here is a story that almost reflects therapy. Someone looking back at their life trying to make sense of the traumas that shaped them. I find that fascinating and ate this up with a spoon - well clearly not literally.

The delightfully reliable bookseller that posts straight to my parcel locker ( god I sound so lame),  was the happy bearer of this delivery and, dear reader, it was even signed by the author. That was just the icing on the cake. Did I mention that they give you Qantas points for every purchase... well they do!

Sure this novel isn't going to leave you in fits of giggles- its about the mystery of girls who have disappeared after all - and yet it is so well written I was definitively on board for the ride.I could imagine this as a fantastic tv mini series because the characters are appealing and the mystery is compelling. That format would really work for this story, giving adequate time to all the related stories. There is a visceral sense of place and actions that the author beautifully evokes, and that is a rare and impressive skill. I know I've been rather effusive in my praise, I guess my one qualifier would be to say that there was just something more that I wanted and I really cannot put my finger on it. I'd love to hear your reviews to see if we concur. I'd be just as interested to see where we disagree. Opinions are always interesting.

4 out of 5 trips back in time can be traumatic.

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