Janette stakes her claim

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - BOOKS - JANE MO­RAN

THE CLAIMANT By Janette Turner Hos­pi­tal ($ 29.95)

IN what is a thor­oughly en­joy­able read, Janette Turner Hos­pi­tal’s lat­est book takes read­ers on an en­tic­ing ride where they get the chance to con­firm the iden­tity of a mys­te­ri­ous claimant to a vast fam­ily for­tune.

The nar­ra­tor Mar­lowe’s voice is full of cyn­i­cal wit and sleazi­ness but there is also a re­deem­ing sense of un­ful­filled long­ing that de­vel­ops em­pa­thy and fu­els the story.

Over­lay­ing four main char­ac­ters is not easy but Turner Hos­pi­tal suc­ceeds in clev­erly sep­a­rat­ing each of their in­ter­locked his­to­ries and mul­ti­ple names and iden­ti­ties.

There is also a meaty theme here about the devel­op­ment of iden­tity, in that the var­i­ous per­sonas groomed or purged by the char­ac­ters ques­tion how iden­tity evolves.

The vivid de­scrip­tions of spe­cific places, their his­tory and mi­lieu is keenly ob­served and well- re­searched.

The novel’s style is tight and the prose strikes up a rhythm which pro­vides an easy read­ing pace. Over­all, the book is a highly rec­om­mended read.

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