Wednesday, October 17, 2012

#BookReview: Forgotten - Catherine McKenzie

If you disappeared for six months, would your friends look for you?  Would your employer notice?  And if you had a chance to start all over again, would you take up?

Her dying mother's request was that Emma Tupper travel to Africa, a continent her mother has long dreamed of visiting.  Initially reluctant, Emma chooses to go.  That decision changes her life dramatically.

Now I have to digress for just a minute.  I was greatly bothered by the fact that McKenzie, an author I normally adore, didn't do her homework.  Africa is a huge continent.  I actually had to search back through to find in which specific country Emma was supposed to be on safari.  When I did find it, the country was Tswanaland.  Never heard of it?  Let me tell you about it.

Tswanaland was a territory set aside for black ethnic groups in South West Africa as a part of apartheid.  This bantustan (territory) was dismantled with the end of apartheid in 1994 and incorporated into present day Namibia.  So I'm curious to know why the author would have her character visit a country that doesn't exist with that name.  At first I thought maybe the book was set prior to 1994, but since the TV show The Wire is referenced in conversation, it's apparent that the book is set at least post-2002, when the show premiered.

So back to the story, Emma returns to find that she's been declared missing and presumed dead.  While in Namibia, there was an earthquake that cut off access to phones and flights for six months.  At her first chance, Emma flies back home, only to find that she's jobless, homeless and has been forgotten.

Faced with the prospect of resuming the stressful life she was living before she left or starting over again, Emma makes the most comfortable decision.  But it doesn't take her long to question whether or not it's the right decision.  I honestly can't say what I'd do in her position.

Catherine McKenzie creates great characters.  They're funny and thoughtful.  They're realistic and likable.  Her previous books, Spin and Arranged were both great reads.  With the exception of the misstep regarding Africa, this is just as good.





448pp
Published: October 2012
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.




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