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'Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!' This impressive debut novel is made up of letters written by Dan Laird who, we know from the outset, has told lies about himself in his past. He is back in the old family home in Norfolk caring for his severely disabled old father, the renowned artist Michael Laird, with whom he has long had a hostile, silent relationship. The letters, including those to his lost love Alice, cleverly build up a multi-faceted, intriguing, difficult and damaged young man. Disturbing undercurrents are suggested but it is only towards the very end that we understand the shocking reality and the depths of Dan's self-deception - and ours as listeners.
With Matt Addis as a male narrator creating Dan's own narrative voice in his letters with all their sexual memories, I was surprised to find that S.E.Crathorne is a woman. For a first novel, she has handled a number of ambitious narrative complexities with commendable skill. Although I found the final revelations rather too speedy, I was involved and intrigued throughout and Matt Addis' narration conveying all Dan's changing moods and obsessions added another dimension of reality. Thoroughly recommended!
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