Monday, May 19, 2008

Bodily Harm

by Rachel Billington (London: MacMillan, 1992, 339 pp.)

The author of this book is a novelist, a columnist, and also a consultant to a prison newspaper. The plot is something like The Bridge of San Luis Rey in reverse; two characters start by converging in an incident of unpremeditated murderous assault by a male clerk upon a woman customer in a shop. From there the story follows each of their lives as they deal with parallel losses of liberty (he in prison, she through her injuries and trauma), denial, healing processes, how they are seen by others, and new plateaus of stability. Aside from the very end, I thought this novel a highly realistic view of all too common events that are rarely examined. An important read for our times. - FW

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