The Hope Fault

Tracy Farr Aard­vark Bureau (OC­TO­BER) Soft­cover $14.95 (340pp), 978-1-910709-43-6

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Fiction - JEREMIAH ROOD

Tracy Farr’s care­fully crafted lit­er­ary novel The Hope Fault ex­plores what fam­ily means when it’s placed be­side the weight of history.

The story is set in the fic­ti­tious Aus­tralian town of Cas­se­town, Ge­o­logue Bay, where Iris and her fam­ily have gath­ered to clean out the fam­ily’s va­ca­tion home be­fore it is sold. First to ar­rive is Iris, along with her trou­bled son, Kurt, and her free-spir­ited niece, Luce. Next come Iris’s ex-hus­band-but-still friend Paul and his new wife, Kristin, along with their still-un­named new baby. Pretty soon the drudgery of pack­ing turns into a full-blown house party, end­ing with Iris fac­ing a new health con­cern, Kurt tak­ing a dan­ger­ous, al­co­hol-fu­eled walk on the beach, and Luce keep­ing a new se­cret about the fam­ily ma­tri­arch, Rosa.

The book changes course as it breaks into its next act. The sec­ond sec­tion tells Rosa’s story in re­verse chrono­log­i­cal or­der through a se­ries of linked short vi­gnettes that read like di­ary en­tries. Rosa’s story un­folds piece by piece, lay­ing bare the mean­ing be­hind many of the things she left be­hind in the Cas­se­town home. Rosa’s story is com­pelling; she’s driven by love that has been touched by hu­man fail­ings and tragedy.

The book ends by wrap­ping up the drama of its first part, but the ac­tion comes with a new­found aware­ness of what the de­bris of a well-lived life means, and why it mat­ters.

Writ­ing is spare and close, a feel­ing that is echoed by the rain driv­ing the char­ac­ters in­side the house and keep­ing them there over the course of the three-day week­end. Nar­ra­tion is writ­ten in a very close third-per­son voice, oc­ca­sion­ally re­veal­ing a char­ac­ter’s thoughts and some­times leav­ing their mo­ti­va­tions in­ten­tion­ally vague.

The Hope Fault is a riv­et­ing novel that el­e­gantly achieves a vi­sion of fam­ily and history that lingers be­yond the page.

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