'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 19 August 2018

Review: In The Dark

Although Carole Poustie wrote this title as a sequel to her debut novel, Dog Gone, In the Dark is a brilliant, well-crafted page-turner that stands alone quite confidently.

Ish is a young boy whose life becomes crumpled and tossed by a single act of curiosity. He has poetic talent, which he believes he inherited from his grandpa who has died. 

After being told not to enter the old cellar of his Gran’s house, he does exactly that, using the excuse of searching for his grandpa’s book on the Mongolian Death Worm.

Deep in the dark spaces of the cellar, he discovers a secret that has been kept from him in the form of a letter addressed to his mother, stamped but never sent. 

This letter sets off a chain of events and revelations that will tear at the already fragile fabric binding relationships within the family, and take Ish on a journey which could be seen as a rite of passage.

All Ish knew about his life proves to be a lie. He is determined to find the truth. But what he uncovers isn’t as idyllic as he imagined.

Carole Poustie has succeeded in creating a novel that will keep the reader riveted with surprising happenings, twists and turns. The crisp prose, excellent characters and emotional tension keeps the pages turning. The story is interspersed with Ish’s poems which reflect his thoughts. These fluctuate emotionally with the happenings in his life. The poems all appear collectively again at the end of the book.

This is an impressive novel about the importance of identity; how secrets can destroy, but then rebuild lives when told, and how misunderstandings can lead to the breakdown of family structures. It addresses human weaknesses and imperfections, shows why the power of love can overcome even the greatest of obstacles, and reflects on the reasons many families keep their skeletons hidden in the closet.

Title: In The Dark
Author: Carole Poustie
Publisher: Celapene Press, $16.95
Publication Date: August 2017
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781925572001
For ages: 11+
Type: Middle Fiction