My monthly newsletter book reviews can be found on my Reviews of what I’m Reading page. But as I read more than one book a month, I leave other reviews here on my blog. They also get posted to Amazon and Goodreads.
Rottnest by EV Faulkner is a fascinating story of opposites finding themselves through an exploration of the other, whether willing or not.
Peter, a mediocre and middle-aged music journalist, receives a cassette tape in the post. There are no sender details, but there’s an invitation to Rottnest (aptly named it turns out) to meet the musicians. When he eventually arrives at the isolated address, he discovers a crumbling mansion, huge overgrown gardens, a family of siblings who appear innocent of the world beyond the 70s, and a hostile welcome. He should turn around and walk the mile back to the main road where he might possibly get a mobile signal and a taxi.
But Peter knows there is a unique talent here which might, just might, avenge him for the talent openly stolen by his ex-girlfriend, Antonia. He sets about attempting to win over the siblings in turn, with very little luck. But in the days that pass, Peter discovers things which affect not only the future of the Rottnest family but his own as well.
Faulkner has a way with words which gives the reader vivid settings – there’s no way I would stay one night in that house – and the 70s hippie/alternative lifestyle and ‘philosophy’ is brilliantly captured. The characters too have depth, even the ones we don’t meet because they are either dead or absent. Faulkner’s insights into the human condition are cutting but gentle, expressed most vividly through Peter’s own self-awareness.
An enjoyable and different read, with an unlikely hero and a unique setting.