16 April, 2015

What came before by Anna George (Biddy, Highland Park)

When Elle meets David they feel an immediate connection. Their relationship is intense and impulsive and its deterioration makes a compelling read. This is Anna George's debut novel and she tackles the topic of domestic violence with an admirable balance of candid realism and sensitivity.

The book opens with David's shocking confession. He is using his dictaphone to record a statement admitting that he has murdered his wife. The book continues with flashbacks to their meeting two years earlier and then  moves back to the present with David's panic at his actions. In contrast, Elle hovers above her battered body and replays their past in a calm and detached manner. She recalls her conviction that they were the new Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant and how they watched their idols' films at a moonlight cinema on an early date.

Anna George's debut novel is a page-turner,combining edge-of-seat-thriller with the powerful narration of a passionate relationship unraveling into domestic abuse. Her characters are real and complex and carry the reader with them to discover their fate.

I look forward to more from this emerging Australian writer. Recommended to readers who enjoyed Gone Girl and The Lovely Bones.

Title:  What Came Before
Author: Anna George
Publisher: Penguin, Melbourne
Date: 2014
ISBN: 9780670077731

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