I have always been a fan of Caroline Overington’s writing: her reporting, her editorial columns and her book about life working in New York with young twins. I even emailed her once about a column she wrote and she sent back a lovely reply, so I grabbed this novel when I saw it on the library shelf.
It is set in the 1980’s in a housing estate in Melbourne where a young boy is found dead on his living room floor. The mother and her de-facto partner are both jailed for the murder, and the 3 siblings are fostered to carers, although it is clear that no-one really knows what happened. That is the basic facts that set up the story and it is established in a few brief pages.
What makes the body of the novel however is the next 20 years as told by a number of different people. Voices include:
- each of the siblings – Lauren, Harley and Hayley
- the detective senior sergeant on the case
- the different foster carers who took in each of the children
- the Anglican priest who conducted the service, and
- the doctors involved in the case.
The presentation of each character was believable, genuine and insightful. In each you could see the point of view of that person and what they had to see. You understood them. Each time you were caught up in someone’s point of view, which was often challenged later by someone else’s. It was excellent at showing the views, prejudices and beliefs that each of us might bring to such a situation.
A good book, which if you got into like I did will only take a day to read but will keep you pondering it for quite a bit longer.
I will also now look out for some of her other novels.