SKIN DEEP

The Mail on Sunday - You - - News -

We first meet Cordelia Russell, the nar­ra­tor of this mes­meris­ing novel, as she stum­bles out of her flat in the South of France leav­ing be­hind the blood-soaked body of a stranger. A few hours later at a glitzy film in­dus­try party, she is snort­ing co­caine and drink­ing cock­tails with a man she’s picked up in a ho­tel bar. It’s a breath­less open­ing, but de­cep­tive. Cordelia, once a cap­ti­vat­ing beauty whose looks are fad­ing in mid­dle-age, turns out to have had an im­pov­er­ished child­hood in a re­mote part of Ire­land. How she goes from Delia O’Fla­herty, mend­ing her fa­ther’s fish­ing nets as a young girl, to life on the Côte d’Azur and an apart­ment over­look­ing the Mediter­ranean is the com­pelling story she re­lates. It is not a rags-to-riches fairy tale, but a dis­turb­ing con­fes­sional of tragedy, cru­elty, de­cep­tion and, ul­ti­mately, mur­der. Delia – emo­tion­ally de­tached, self-cen­tred and com­pletely be­guil­ing – uses her looks and cold heart from the start to ma­nip­u­late those around her, un­con­cerned by the ca­su­al­ties she leaves in her wake. That in­cludes fam­ily, friends, lovers and even her own child. But is she about to get her come­up­pance? ‘What is this “love” that ev­ery­body is so ob­sessed by? There have been peo­ple I en­joyed spend­ing time with, peo­ple who made me laugh some­times, peo­ple who have taken care of me, fed and clothed me, but am I ex­pected to re­ward them with dec­la­ra­tions of love at every turn? I don’t know what it is. The only per­son I ever had strong feel­ings for was my fa­ther. I loved him. But if Daddy felt the same way about me, why did he shoot him­self? I don’t think love is use­ful.’ Award-win­ning nov­el­ist Liz Nu­gent en­joyed a var­ied ca­reer be­fore be­com­ing a full-time writer, in­clud­ing tour­ing the world as stage man­ager with the River­dance the­atre pro­duc­tion. She grew up in Dublin, where she still lives with her hus­band. Liz writes ex­clu­sively about the back­ground to Skin Deep at mailon­sun­day.co.uk/you, where you will also find sug­gested top­ics for your own book club dis­cus­sion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.