A brother and sister called Tom and Ellie Parker; another brother and sister called Mikey and Karyn McKenzie. These are the four young people whose inter-related destinies provide the key interest in Jenny Downham’s excellent and totally absorbing novel, though closely linked to this quartet are their respective families and the very different social worlds they inhabit: ‘privileged’ confronts ‘underprivileged’ – but how far below the surface do such labels go? What might be termed the narrative drive of the novel starts with the rape – or the alleged rape – which Tom Parker has perpetrated on Karyn McKenzie, leading to the young man’s appearance in court, the accusations made against him and the eventual outcome of his trial. But, gripping as all this dimension of the novel is, it becomes increasingly complex and multi-layered when a relationship begins to develop between Ellie Parker and Mikey McKenzie: we are brilliantly prepared for a fascinating dissection of family ties, loyalties and changing perspectives. Downham’s tracking of the evolving Ellie and Mikey strand of her novel is masterly, with a particularly superb chapter detailing their first sexual encounter – a marked contrast, of course, to the act of which Tom stands accused. This is a rich, sensitive, highly accomplished novel.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2011-01-01 00:00:102022-02-27 11:00:44You Against Me