Saturday, 13 November 2010

The Fate of Katherine Carr

Title: The Fate of Katherine Carr

Author: Thomas H Cook

Number of pages: 276

Started: 11 November 2010

Finished: 13 November 2010

Opening words:

They strike at heat, she said, and so there is no escape. What if evil were like that, too, a heat that rises from the worst of us, its correction like a hawk circling overhead; always present, but unseen in its dive? Perhaps in all such speculations, the question mark alone is relevant, the opening it offers to a strange dark hope.
But heat, at least, is real, and the one that shimmers around me now comes from the building light, the green, turgid river, the dense jungle and ...
"Always reading," Mr. Mayawati says as he strolls out onto the deck. He is large and slow-footed, his scent a blend of sweat and curry. "I have noticed that you are always reading."
I put down the book. "Yes."
Mr. Mayawati's face is the color of meat slow-roasted on a skewer. He wears a white linen shirt, already moist in the armpits, and baggy flannel pants. "I hope I do not disturb you," he says as he reaches the chair beside me.
"Not at all," I tell him.

Read the first chapter here.

Plot summary:

George Gates is a former travel writer. He used to specialize in writing about places where people disappeared, sometimes individuals, sometimes whole societies. Now, since the murder of his eight-year-old son, Gates has written gentler stories for the town paper about flower festivals and local celebrities. Enter Arlo MacBride, a retired missing-persons detective who, knowing Gates' past, mentions the case of Katherine Carr, a woman who vanished twenty years before, leaving nothing behind but a few poems and a strange little story. It is this story that spurs Gates to inquire into its missing author's brief life and dire fate, an exploration that leads him to discoveries about life and death, mystery and resolution

What I thought:

I started to read this book ages ago, but put it down after about the first fifty pages –in part distracted by reading the Booker Prize shortlist, and in part because I was slightly struggling to get into it. But I returned to it because I know that cook is a good author and that this book probably had potential that I had missed by being distracted by other things.

In Cook’s usual style, this was a dark tale that reflected on the more unsavoury side of people’s morality. As the tale unfolded it proved more rewarding than I had initially thought and was a dark and introspective tale that had an underlying sadness. I am glad that I returned to this. It was a well written sombre tale.

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