Sunday 5 February 2017

Shadow Self by Paula Marais

Shadow Self starts with Thea Middleton appearing in court. She is confused, and disoriented. She starts telling us her story, with alternating chapters told by young Sanusha.

Thea was married to Rajit, and then Clay. Clay also tells us his side of the story.

With these three first-person narratives, a chilling, unsettling, dark and sinister plot emerges, set in beautiful sunny Cape Town, where shadows and darkness are ignored  - they don't belong after all - until they go away.

Tales like this are hard to tell, and usually difficult to read. I didn't struggle with reading this one, so masterful was the telling. The dialogue was superb - spot on and relatable. I loved being inside Sanusha's head, and there were moments of intense hope and joy, if not perfect happiness. Yet the tension was mounting, and the sense of foreboding growing.

Shadow Self is a brilliant story of a mother's battle with postpartum depression, and I would highly recommend it. Don't you just love the new cover, created for the latest edition on the right? So clever.

It was almost too real, and had a way of bringing human struggles up close and very personal. The author researched the topic extensively, yet brought a remarkable level of understanding.

So although I loved the reading, I have struggled with the reviewing. I think it's because I wanted to love Thea more, but it felt like the author didn't want to let me. And maybe that was her intention?

Nevertheless, a chilling and poignant 4 star read.

ISBN: 9780798165

You may also enjoy Love and Wine by the same author, but a far happier love story. Or what about Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin, or even The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer?

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