|Print List Price:||$15.99|
Save $4.00 (25%)
Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price set by seller.
A Child's Book of True Crime: A Novel Kindle Edition
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Vince Passaro O The Oprah Magazine A brilliant, seductive, and unnerving first novel of sexual betrayal and murder...Hooper's novel is so tightly woven, so sophisticated, so full of sharp psychological truth and complex emotional and sexual life that you really have trouble believing it could be anyone's first book.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer A stunning, literate debut that combines a taut story and a unique structure...It is Hooper's prowess and her keen grasp of human psychology that make the book so rewarding.
The New Yorker A witty and unsettling meditation on innocence and experience.
The Wall Street Journal Ironic, moving, full of keen perceptions and striking sentences...a tour de force.
Kate Byrne teaches fourth grade students in Tasmania, the large island off the mainland of Australia. Young, awkward, and not very self-assured, Kate becomes involved in an affair with Thomas Marne, the father of one of her students, Lucien, a charismatic but withdrawn youngster. Kate worries about him and the dark nature of some of his drawings, and she worries that Lucien may be having problems with his mother, Veronica, and her career as a bestselling true crime writer.
Veronica's book is currently on the bestseller list and she is busy promoting it. The book, Murder at Black Swan Point, tells the story of one of the most notorious crimes in the area. In 1983 a young woman, Ellie Siddell, was brutally murdered by the wife of the man with whom she was having an affair. The wife's car was found at the edge of a cliff, and it was commonly believed that she threw herself off it, although her body was never found. Years later, Veronica was able to interview the husband before he died, and this interview, as well as some of the crime scene evidence, is explored in her book. She feels that there may be another explanation for the murder of Ellie and the wife's subsequent disappearance.
Kate finds herself both charmed and appalled by Veronica when she visits her son at the school, but Kate also becomes obsessed with the murder and finds herself drawn to Black Swan Point. As the details of Ellie Siddell's death are slowly revealed and the affair between Kate and Thomas gets more obsessive, it becomes obvious that history may repeat itself.
The action pauses throughout A Child's Book of True Crime for an account of the murder at Black Swan Point written for children, with animals indigenous to the continent of Australia taking the parts of the people involved. It is not until the end of the novel that we find out who is writing this story and why. Kate also involves her students in discussions involving everything from the meanings of words to ethical questions concerning behavior and whether actions have consequences.
One of the strong points of the narrative is the description of Tasmania and its history. Like much of Australia, Tasmania was a penal colony, and the history of the region involves the lives of the convicts. Children visit the prisons on field trips. The animals they encounter play a part in their everyday lives and are also very different for the non-Australian reader, making this not only an eerie read but also an instructive one. This is a story guaranteed to stay with you long after you've closed the covers. --Otto Penzler --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B00AK78P50
- Publisher : Scribner; Reprint edition (January 29, 2013)
- Publication date : January 29, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 3282 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 242 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,320,485 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I didn't particularly enjoy the book, but then again, I am not a fan of Literary Fiction so I'm probably not the right audience. I didn't like barrage of draining and depressing themes - naïve school teacher, married lover, an old crime of passion, mental breakdown and no actual resolution. Kate, the protagonist, isn't particularly likeable and by the end I couldn't have cared less if she jumped off the cliff.
On the bright side, I was impressed by Hooper's knowledge of Tasmania and her intimate portrayal of life in a small town. I thought the interspersed chapters of the Australian animals solving their own crimes to be quirky, powerful and unique (albeit still depressing, what with one being shot for fur, another sterile from koala Chlamydia, and another on the brink of extinction) and humanising. Which is a bit weird, because they're animals. Or perhaps not so weird.
In any case, if you like literary fiction and crime fiction, then you might want to give this book a read if for no other reason than the fact that it is highly original and reasonably well written.
The main character, Kate Byrne, is a gem. She's awkward and unsure at times, then powerfully insightful. The book is three stories in one. The first is Kate's affair with the father of one of her star pupils, a young boy with plenty of brainpower. The second story involves a sensational and unsolved murder, which happens to be the subject of a true crime book written by her lover's wife. The third is the child's version of this story (these sections are brief) as Kate attempts to tell the story in a way that's suitable for children, with animals and in a sort of harmless (sort of) fashion. The tension grows as Kate realizes that Veronica, the author and her lover's wife, might be on them. Worse, of course, she had "written her own textbook on how to kill one's rival." All this takes place on Tasmania and layered throughout are the themes of prisons and outcasts, which inform the main plots too.
In construction alone, the book is fascinating. The writing is sharp and distinct. Hooper's style is both breezy and carries weight, a stunning feat. There are moments of great tension (the car repair scene) quickly injected with humor. With so much going on, this is still a quick read. Events move swiftly.
Here's Byrne contemplating Veronica:
"Veronica had two modes. She cultivated all that languid ennui to hide pure cunning. I had seen her overwhelmed by murderous thoughts: Veronica with bright, bright eyes, all caffeinated like a jerky little bird. She had despised me from the moment we'd met. I'd been ridiculously naïve. On that excursion, just as I had been studying her, she had been studying me; her every compliment, her every kindness, dosed to some precise formula."
In fact, it seems everyone in "A Child's Book of True Crime" has two modes, or multiple modes. Everybody is capable of everything. Fair warning--nothing here is neatly resolved. But the book is no less satisfying. This a full meal, deliciously conceived and realized.