Sunday, 14 October 2018

The Hope Fault by Tracy Farr

In Cassetown, Geologue Bay, Iris and her extended family ― her ex-husband (Paul) and his wife (Kristin) and their new baby (yet to be named); her troubled son (Kurt), Paul's twin sister (Marti) and her daughter (Luce) ― gather on a midwinter long weekend, to pack up the family holiday house now that it has been sold. 

The Hope Fault describes the weekend in loving detail, revealing secrets and tensions within the family with a break in the middle where the narrative shifts to tell moments from the almost 100 years of the life of Rosa, Iris's mother. The narrative then shifts back to the weekend preparations for the party that will mark both forever leaving the house and finally naming the baby.

I particularly liked how the story reveals each family member's creativity, Rosa's faery tales, Iris carefully making a quilt for the baby, Luce composing a song for the baby and Kurt constantly drawing:

'Kurt sleeps in his clothes and dreams of a page in a notebook, ink-washed deep black, split in the centre by a wedge of page-white light, that wedge of light with a figure in shadow at its centre, the figure itself casting a shadow on another figure,something he can't quite see, or touch, or draw. He floats above the page, pencil in his hand. He dreams in light and dark.

The Hope Fault itself is a geological fault in the south island of New Zealand, as explored by Zigi, a geologist poet who many years ago had an affair with Rosa. This is reflected in the family story by the hidden weaknesses in the family that threaten to change things. 

Not much happens in this slow paced novel and though I mostly enjoyed the writing and the detailed descriptions I was a little underwhelmed and felt it wasn't as insightful as it could have been.

The Hope Fault by Tracy Farr published by Gallic Books

Disclaimer: I won this book in a competition on Silvia's Book by Book blog

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