Thursday, 9 July 2015

The Kindness by Polly Samson

The theme of paradise lost runs through Polly Samson’s latest book, a paradise that begins with the relationship of literature student, Julian, and Julia, the married woman he falls for. Julian meets Julia when she is exercising her husband’s hawk, which is suitably named, Lucifer. Julian rescues Julia from a violent marriage and the two become lovers.

Julian leaves university but eventually finds a niche writing hugely popular reinterpretations of history written from the perspective of eye-witness dogs. So he can afford to buy back his old childhood home of Firdaws in the country. He believes this will be an idyllic new life for them, but soon things go wrong – Julia struggles with the lengthy commute to work and their daughter Mira falls ill.

Samson weaves the story deftly around the characters, switching between past and present time frames, giving out snatches of information that tempt the reader into making assumptions and then blowing them out of the water. The novel is full of references to the fall of Adam and Eve, complete with forbidden fruit, pacts made with the devil, or at least a devilish character, and yes there’s even a snake.

But mostly this is a story about unintended consequences and how actions made for the best don’t always deliver what they promise. The Kindness is cleverly written with characters full of depth and tragedy. With its plot twists and heady atmosphere, it’s the kind of book that would make a great Sunday night TV drama. It’s original storyline makes you wonder what this author will come up with next. If you like Esther Freud and Sadie Jones, you will love Polly Samson.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: The Kindness

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