A Review of Disquiet

DisquietIt feels like just a couple days ago that I was posting about reading Disquiet next. Oh wait, that’s because it was.

As I mentioned then, Disquiet is short. It is in fact a novella rather than a novel so it moves quickly.

The reviews I read of Disquiet called it “haunting” and I agree. The writing is beautiful, expertly creating a creepy and sad atmosphere. However, despite the sad atmosphere and sad events, I never felt sad reading it. That’s because author Julia Leigh takes a detached approach to her characters. While they are all given names, these names are rarely used. Instead, they are referred to as “the woman,” “the boy,” and “the girl.” This distance adds to the “haunting” quality but makes it hard to feel anything for these people.

It may be pedestrian of me, but good writing only takes me so far. I need a little in the way of plot. And there is potential for plot here. A woman has fled her abusive husband with her children to come to her family home which she ran away from years ago. Her brother also returns with his wife who is emotionally unable to bury their stillborn child. Yet with all these possible complex arcs very little is explained or resolved, and it all remains very much removed from the reader. I’m sure that’s what the author was going for, it’s just not my taste in reading.

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