Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Summer We All Ran Away

Looking back I can't quite remember what caught my eye about Cassandra Parkin's debut novel. I guess the title captured a certain end of season whimsy that echoed my own memories of the fast fading summer as the leaves turn golden on the trees. Whatever it was, I'm glad I did, as this proved a great read with accomplished story telling - I was truly gripped from the off.

Parkin's tale begins with Davey, a teenage runaway drunkenly making his way somewhere, anywhere, away from his past. Somehow, he finds himself in a secluded house in the West Country, living with three others also sheltering from their past. He is welcome to stay as long as he likes, where the only rule seems to be to not ask any questions about how the others got to where they are.

His story is juxaposed with that of Jack, a rock star trying to recover from his demons, hiding away in the same house in the seventies. He meets Mathilda, a young actress. From these beginnings, Parkin dips in and out of their stories, taking lots of different strands and eventually pulling them all together to make sense in the final few pages.

As the book progresses, we start to learn what the four housemates - Davey, Priss, Tom and Kate - together, and what they have all run from. The present day tale centres around the two teenagers, Priss and Davey, as they seek answers. For me, the most compelling part was Davey's story as he attempts to conquer his demons. As his tale unfurls it's clear he's a resilient young man with a distance still to travel, adding a great coming of age element.

This was a very atmospheric read, full of wist and promise. It was indeed very different, but the familiar themes of abandonment and the quest of belonging was told in a masterful style. I found myself whizzing through this book and was definitely sad to reach the end of my hidden haven at the end of a commute. An unusual read, but definitely worth a dabble.

(Available in Kindle format or paperback from Amazon)

No comments:

Post a Comment

It would be great to hear your thoughts - please feel free to leave a comment!