Thursday, 4 November 2021

Book Review & Giveaway: The Curlew's Eye by Karen Manton

The Curlew's Eye
by
Karen Manton 
 

Publisher: Allen & Unwin
 
Publication date: 14th September 2021
 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Mystery
 
Pages: 352
 
RRP: $32.99AUD
 
Format read: Uncorrected Paperback
 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
 
About the book
 
Greta's partner Joel grew up with five brothers and a sister in a feisty household on an isolated NT property. But he doesn't talk about those days-not the deaths of his sister and mother, nor the origin of the scars that snake around his body.

Now, many years later, he returns with Greta and their three young boys to prepare the place for sale. The boys are quick to settle in, and Joel seems preoccupied with work, but Greta has a growing sense of unease, struggling in the build-up's oppressive heat and living in the shadow of the old, burned-out family home. She knows she's a stranger in this uncanny place, with its eerie and alluring landscape, hostile neighbour, and a toxic dam whose clear waters belie its poison. And then there's the mysterious girl living rough whom Greta tries to befriend.

Determined to make sense of it all, Greta is drawn into Joel's unspoken past and confronted by her own. Before long the curlew's haunting cry will call her to face the secrets she and Joel can no longer outrun.
  

My review

Greta, Joel and their three sons lead a nomadic life moving from town to town wherever Joel finds work. When he gets a job repairing the shack on his childhood property Greta is looking forward to learning more about Joel and his family.
As they settle into the area and meet other residents Greta can feel the pull of the place. It calls to her and the history of the area seeps into her being.
 
Karen Manton's prose are eerie and haunting. She uses short, sharp sentences that hold within themselves a hint of impending menace.
Single page chapters from the past are dotted throughout revealing a malevolent presence that once lurked.
 
I liked how Karen Manton set the novel in the modern day however there was only brief mentions of mobile phones and email. The three young boys ran around the bush collecting things, fishing and amusing themselves. They were happy, outgoing, friendly boys despite living a nomadic life.
Greta and Joel are slowly being destroyed by secrets held within them and secrets held from them.

Everything is brought to life in this gothic style tale of secrets kept hidden. The vegetation, trees, bird-life are all watching, judging.
Water and its alluring beauty and danger is a large presence running through the novel. The poison lake at the property holds secrets within its depths and the ocean of Greta's childhood holds memories of despair and loss.

Karen Manton has expressed this foreboding style of narration with an expertise that makes it look effortless. The gloom, despair and horror as it built to the climax did however overwhelm me. The Curlew's Eye is a highly emotional read.

My rating 4 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐



About the author

Karen Manton lives in Darwin and Batchelor in the Northern Territory, with her husband, two sons, and their two dogs and a turtle. She has short stories published in various anthologies. The Curlew's Eye is her first novel.
 
Giveaway 
I  have one copy of The Curlew's Eye to give away to one lucky reader. Entries close at Midnight on 14th November 2021. (Australian addresses only)
 
This giveaway is closed - The winner was announced here

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