Commonwealth Prize nominee Genni Gunn has penned an ingenious psychological novel, placing at its dark centre a flawed but redeemable heroine, Kate Mason, a 30-something social anthropologist returning to the emotional crime scene she reluctantly calls home.
While Kate mercilessly unearths the remnants of a life littered with evidence of abandonment, lies and loss, she also unravels the coil that binds her to Iris, the mother she never knew. Iris' haunting disappearance lurks on the periphery of strained relations with Joe, Kate's taciturn father; Rose, her benevolent aunt; Angie, her childhood girlfriend; and Ray, her not-so-estranged ex. Like the endangered cultures she researches, Kate faces extinction through contact with poisonous knowledge and must weigh the price of truth or risk annihilation at the hands of those she so desperately wants to trust.
Abandoned by her mother Iris at an early age, social anthropologist Kate Mason returns to the emotional crime scene she reluctantly calls home. Kate's academic work on human cruelty begins to find disturbing common ground with her personal life as she unearths the secrets around Iris' disappearance.
Award-winning narrator Kathleen McInerney takes the listener seamlessly through poetic interludes, excerpts from Kate's lecture notes and the repercussions of Kate's discoveries, creating a distinct tone for each section while maintaining the story’s quick pace. McInerney's subtle changes in voice underscore the nuances of Kate's growing dread as she realizes that - much like the endangered cultures she studies - her contact with new knowledge may inevitably cause her extinction.
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