Red Ink : Julie Mayhew

Red InkRed Ink by Julie Mayhew

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There’s a strange sort of poetry in sadness. The poetics of grief, if you will. Think about it. When sadness, darkness, pain hits us, it hits hard. We feel it. It’s an almost physical impact, this great black nothing that swings out of nowhere and makes us fall out of the rythm of our daily lives. And when it’s fallen, when we’re stumbling round in our grief and our hurt, we’re lost because our world doesn’t make sense any more. Yesterday, it did. Yesterday it was perfect.

But today, it does not.

And so, in this today world, this grief-tinged pain-filled world, we see things differently because we do not understand them. Our grief consumes us. Makes us unable to see straight.

Makes us blind.

Mayhew’s extraodinary novel is quite something. It’s full of this jarring, beautiful poetic prose that captures the heightened impact of pain so very well. Her voice is something else. Soothing, scared, hopeful, lost, quite often all at once.

This is the story of Melon Fouraki and the day her mum died. But it’s also about the before, flitting backwards throughout her own story and then, gloriously, soaring into her mother’s story. This is the story of Melon, true, but it’s also a story about story. About the way words connect us to each other, about the way sometimes words can come true, and about the way words sometimes dance around the truth and hide away in the shadows.

This is such a graceful, artful book. It’s one of those that sort of isn’t just about the story. It’s about how it’s put together, about how it is a story, and it’s so very good. I loved this. I cried, hugely, gapingly, at it, and I was so hugely impressed when I finished it.

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