WHAT RED WAS

Daily Mail - - Books Fiction -

by Rosie Price

(Harvill Secker £12.99, 304 pp) CEN­TRED on a cross-class friend­ship struck up at uni­ver­sity, this im­pres­sive de­but from a 26-year-old Bri­tish writer tack­les the sub­ject of sex­ual vi­o­lence and its af­ter­math.

Kate meets fel­low stu­dent Max when he knocks on her door in a towel, hav­ing been locked out of his own room af­ter tak­ing a shower.

She’s from a mod­est back­ground with a de­pres­sive mother she doesn’t speak to; he’s the son of a film di­rec­tor, at the cen­tre of a buzzy so­cial circle that soon be­comes Kate’s own.

The free-roam­ing nar­ra­tive feels frus­trat­ingly baggy at first, dis­tract­ing us with the ins and outs of Max’s ex­tended fam­ily when Kate is the char­ac­ter we care about most.

But it soon gets un­der your skin, with the un­hur­ried ap­proach earn­ing its keep as the story — in­volv­ing se­crecy, be­trayal and self-harm — un­spools to ex­plore the reper­cus­sions of a crime brought be­lat­edly to light.

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