Review: Resin

August 4, 2018 in Book Reviews, Thriller

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Resin Resin by Ane Riel
Published by Doubleday on 9th August 2018
Genres: thriller
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think.

Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing.

But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents.

This way, Liv would be safe.

A Wee Summary

Resin is one of those novels that it’s hard to say that you ‘enjoyed’ because it makes you feel so on edge, so deeply uncomfortable. So perhaps I can say that this is an unsettling but good read.

Liv is six years old when her father reports her missing and dead. She lives isolated on an island with her mother and father, hidden from the world. Her father, Jens Horder, was brought up here too, on the Head, a small island attached to a larger one by a strip of land known as the Neck.

Her Grandfather had been a carpenter and instilled a love of trees and nature into his younger son. Liv never met her Grandfather but she had gleaned a similar interest from her father.

Nowadays, the house doesn’t look as it did in her Grandfather’s day – there is stuff everywhere. Her Dad hoards things, convinced that they will be of use, scared that anyone will try to take them away from him. That’s why he told the police that Liv was dead, then no-one could take her.

As I read and uncovered the history of the Horder family, I became increasingly unsettled, and yet unable to stop reading.

My Thoughts

While this book is dark and disturbing, it also captures the emotional relationship between parent and child. Liv’s innocence of youth and her sheltered life add to this, providing quite a contrast from the constant foreboding feeling I had as I read.

It is also a very atmospheric novel. Riel has captured this island location beautifully, with the feel of isolation further compounding the story.

I’m finding Resin a very difficult book to describe without giving away any spoilers. I should give you a warning though that this book contains animal cruelty and infant death. Consequently, it won’t be a book for everyone.

What I can say is that this is a disturbing, but memorable read that will keep you on edge from the first page until the very last.


Review: All We Shall Know

September 15, 2016 in Book Reviews, Contemporary

Review: All We Shall Know All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan
Published by Doubleday on 15th September 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Format: ARC
Source: Competition Prize

‘Martin Toppy is the son of a famous Traveller and the father of my unborn child. He’s seventeen, I'm thirty-three. I was his teacher. I’d have killed myself by now if I was brave enough. I don’t think it would hurt the baby. His little heart would stop with mine. He wouldn't feel himself leaving one world of darkness for another, his spirit untangling itself from me.’

Melody's husband takes the news badly, and she finds herself alone and in trouble. She’s trying to stay in the moment, but the future is looming – larger by the day – while the past won’t let her go.

It’s a good thing that she meets Mary when she does. Mary is a young Traveller woman, and knows more about Melody than she lets on. And she might just save Melody’s life.

Melody Shee is 33 when she finds herself pregnant. The father of her unborn child is not her husband, but the son of a famous Traveller whom she has been tutoring.

Her husband leaves and Melody finds herself alone, contemplating taking her own life. It’s just the thought of her father that keeps her going; she couldn’t do that to him.

When Melody makes an acquaintance with Mary, a young Traveller with issues of her own, the two form an unlikely friendship.

Until now, I’d not ready any of Donal Ryan’s work. However his was a name that I kept happening across again and again – now I can see why.

Despite being relatively short, this beautifully written book packs a punch. It takes the lives of several broken, emotional and lonely individuals and collides them in a cauldron of hope.

It’s a testament to Ryan’s writing that he can convey, from a female perspective, the devastation of a barren womb, the heartbreak of miscarriage and the emotions of a pregnant woman.

He also explores the process of ageing, the disintegration of a marriage, the relationship between a tutor and student, the culture of Travellers, the suicide of a loved one and the scrutiny of living in a small town. All of this carefully entwined in 186 pages!

I particularly liked the format of the book – chapters which correlate to the weeks of Melanie’s pregnancy. Not only does it makes for nice short chapters; it also cleverly captures the passing of time in the story.

I’m in awe at Ryan’s ability to compact so many carefully addressed issues into such a short, beautifully written and extremely readable novel. It may be the first Donal Ryan book I’ve read, but it won’t be the last.