Friday, 12 February 2016

Book Review - Fractured by Clar Ni Chonghaile

Peter Maguire has been kidnapped in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. He does not know where he is or what is going to happen to him. The journalist is filled with fear and, as the days go by, this dread of the unknown is shot through with remorse for the mistakes of his past. Peter’s mother Nina comes to Somalia to wait for her son’s release. His plight forces her to relive another trauma—the fatal shooting in Liberia of Shaun Ridge, a young photographer she once loved, and Peter’s real father. Abdi, a Somali teenager working with Peter’s captors strikes a tenuous friendship with the prisoner based on a shared feeling of captivity. He decides to help Peter escape. Together they set off into the barren vastness of a land filled with danger. Three people must journey into one of the world’s most dangerous places, the human mind, to answer the question: are we ever truly free?

I received an ARC from the published Legend Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.This book is not my usual genre of chick lit or women’s fiction. But it appealed to me because it is so relevant today, in this sad world of extremism and violence. And I have to confess to loving TV series such as 24 and Strike Back.The story is told from three points of view – Peter, the hostage, his mother, Nina and Abdi, torn by his beliefs. Each of them goes through their own personal hell, whether physical or mental, and we learn how dire circumstances can lead to change for the better.

The descriptive language is beautiful, immersing the reader in the claustrophobic terror of Peter’s kidnapping and his ‘fear that someone, somewhere, has a pair of scissors poised over the fabric of my existence’. We learn of his flaws, his inability to commit fully to a woman and accept anything but monetary responsibility for his own son.

We learn about Nina, and her sadness at having pushed her son away for so many years because of his father, and her determination to get him back.

And finally Abdi, the Somali teen who has his own personal tragedies to deal with, who risks his own life to assist the journalist.

The story is full of peril and observations of life in war-torn Africa, descriptions of its people, both the innocent and the fundamentalists. There is a climatic scene which had me holding my breath, my eyes open wide with fear and excitement. If this doesn’t make it to either the small screen or cinema, I’ll be very surprised.

Fractured is an intense, emotional gut-wrencher of a novel which delves beneath the physical struggles at its heart.

Fractured was published by Legend Press on February 1st 2016

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