See What I Have Done

by Sarah Sch­midt (Tin­der, £8.99)

The Guardian - Review - - Fiction - Jus­tine Jor­dan

A cen­tury and a quar­ter on, the case of Lizzie Bor­den – the American woman ac­quit­ted of killing her father and step­mother, by a jury un­able to believe a woman could do such a thing – con­tin­ues to fas­ci­nate. Sarah Sch­midt’s novel is a fever­ish reimag­in­ing of the mur­ders told by four voices: Lizzie, her older sis­ter Emma, the maid Brid­get, and a dan­ger­ous stranger called Ben­jamin. Many the­o­ries about mo­ti­va­tion have been ad­vanced over the decades, but Sch­midt is less in­ter­ested in con­triv­ing a new ver­sion of what “re­ally” hap­pened than in plung­ing the reader into a claus­tro­pho­bic nexus of family re­sent­ments and frus­tra­tions, prob­ing ob­ses­sively at the fault­line between love and hate. The nar­ra­tive lurches back and forth, with Lizzie giv­ing us im­pres­sion­is­tic snatches of her move­ments, nar­rated in a fer­vent bab­ble some­where between babytalk and the halt­ing ur­gency of Emily Dick­in­son. The blur­ring of voices and rep­e­ti­tion of words and sym­bols add to the mo­men­tum, making for a nas­tily ef­fec­tive de­but.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.