Vintage, $29.95 pb, 247 pp
Nikki Gemmell’s third novel, Love Song, set in both Australia and England, is a striking and memorable work. The style is sharp, jagged even, but so energetic that it sucked me in. I had to read it twice to know more than the fact that I had thoroughly enjoyed it.
This is a story written to an unborn child by a mother who seems, at first, both old and young, something which proves to be the case. She is Lillie, a girl who has survived the eccentric, cult-like community that incarcerated her, and who has survived the loss of her lover, the child’s father. She has survived a short life dogged by false accusation. She is also a young woman who, at the point of writing that old person’s document, her memoirs, is scarcely into her adulthood and is still inexperienced in the ways of the world. Her voice is fresh, young and oddly wise.