I read this book in two quick sittings. It gripped me in a way that I have not been gripped for quite some time. It appealed to me on several different levels. Firstly, the story itself is captivating. Deborah Masel is an excellent writer. She depicts her struggle with cancer with enormous clarity and honesty. She draws the reader into her journey in a way that does not inspire pity or sorrow but rather a joy for living and for experiencing all that life has to offer. Furthermore, her deep spiritual insights into life and death are so moving that parts of this book I had to read twice or three times in order to properly appreciate.
It would spoil this book for me to say much more. What you should know is that I have now searched elsewhere for Masel’s writing, wanting deeply to better understand her approach to living. And, even more telling, perhaps, this is a book that I will definitely look to reread at some point in the future.
So poignant was its message that Soul to Soul will stay with me for a long time to come.
Disher is a new author for me, and this is his latest book and winner of the Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction 2010.
The book’s opening sets the scene – “Wyatt was waiting to rob a man of $75,000.” – and it is through this bungled heist that we meet the protagonist, a fearfully calm and reassured man called Wyatt. What we come to learn about him, we gather only from his actions as he is as illusive and mysterious a character as I have ever encountered. He is swift, invisible, a chameleon and incredibly readable!
Wyatt encounters a range of people in this book, some more interesting than others. There is a prostitute, a thug, a police detective and a Frenchman who is a worthy opponent. Of course, there is also the necessary love interest.
However, while this tale could read like trashy crime fiction, it is actually brilliantly written and filled with a dynamism that I have rarely encountered in this genre. Disher does a magnificent job of describing Melbourne and clearly has a keen sense of the place. He takes us through her streets, down her dark alleyways and into her parks. It is a fascinating journey, impeccably narrated and wonderfully layered.
Obviously, the book is filled with the obligatory crime action of sex, drugs and a series of murders and this ensures that the plot is fast paced and quite twisted (I mean this in a positive way!)
The Australian says that Wyatt “simply has to be read in one sitting” and I can certainly attest to that (although it took me two sittings). I normally enjoy a good crime thriller, but this one has far exceeded my expectations and I dare confess that I might be a new Garry Disher fan … Is there going to be a sequel???