When Lucy’s friend Lily is murdered, Lucy becomes the main suspect. We meet her while she is being questioned by the police and refusing to answer them. Instead she tells us, the readers, her story. Damaged by events in her early life, Lucy has moved from her Yorkshire home to Japan to try to put the past and her family behind her. She has grown to love her new country but still gives the impression of being very much an outsider looking in.
Susanna Jones’ great strength is in creating compelling, enigmatic central characters and Lucy is a fine example of this. She admits to being ‘strange’ and some of her actions would seem to confirm this. But she tells her story in such a way that the reader can’t be sure whether her memories are accurate or distorted by later events. She is oddly likeable despite her insecurities and obsessiveness.
Jones’ writing style is spare and well crafted, shot through with shafts of humour and irony, but gradually creating tension that builds throughout the book. Through Lucy’s eyes, Jones gives us a convincing picture of life for a young woman in an alien culture and of the crossover between the immigrant community and the native Japanese. She doesn’t make the mistake of trying to tie everything up too neatly at the end – Lucy’s future remains as enigmatic as her past. An excellent debut novel with all the ingredients that Jones shows in her more recent books. Recommended.
Amazon UK Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/RNU4YXLF87RLG
Amazon US Link: http://www.amazon.com/review/R38VZAELL7PLN7