Monday, November 6, 2017

Rifling Paradise; a review of the novel

Rifling ParadiseRifling Paradise by Jem Poster
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The beginning of this story is quite dark, as our central character reveals attributes that might make for a sordid sort of tale, but the writing was crystal clear and the quality of the prose led me to keep reading. I'm very glad I did.

The novel is really well paced, somehow suggesting very complex plot development, but delivering a trim and precise tale that ends more quickly than seemed possible. It is scattered with moments of real tension as the author uses the story to contrast several different character types, all responding to the cultural paradigms of the time- some characters stuck within them and some managing to grow through them. A very satisfying read.

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the blurb on Goodreads says:

A gripping thriller set in the wilds of nineteenth-century Australia by the critically acclaimed author of Courting Shadows
When past indiscretions catch up with Charles Redbourne, a minor English landowner, he is propelled from England to Australia, where he plans to make his mark as a naturalist. There, his life begins to change dramatically, not least when he meets his host's wayward, artistic daughter. But it is on an expedition in search of scientific specimens in the Blue Mountains that events take a terrifying turn. Vividly conveying the unspoken codes of Victorian society, this is a gripping tale of emotional and psychological reckoning that offers an inspired meditation on the relationship between humankind and the natural world.

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