My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I first came across Cat Clarke with her very spectacular book Torn. She’s a writer who has a very pure simplicity in her work, able to go straight to the heart of the matter and deliver an almost physical emotional impact when she is there.
Undone is about pain, the ravaging pain and loneliness of grief and of how much it hurts when you lose the one you love. Jem’s in love with her gay best friend Kai. But Kai’s dead. Outed online, he killed himself and now Jem has decided to avenge him. She’s going to go after the people who outed him, who filmed him.
Who killed him.
We follow Jem over a period of several months, and watch her plan start to form. It’s punctuated by letters from Kai, written during his last night alive. He tells her to be brave, to challenge herself, to be the gorgeous person she can be. And these letters from Kai are searing. Clarke’s delivering a story here that doesn’t pull punches in its subject matter, but still somehow brings a sense of heart to it all. Kai is that heart. Warm, lovely, beautiful, and every word in his letters makes you feel his loss even more.
You will cry. You will. And when it comes to the last few chapters, you’ll read them hungrily and with a sense of dawning incomprehension and pain at how it all comes together. I’m trying very desperately to not spoil it for you, but oh my god, the ending of this hurts. So much.
Cat Clarke is one of the most important writers working out there at the moment. And in Undone, she is outstanding. Again.