Pam Macintyre reviews 'Preloved' by Shirley Marr, 'Night Beach' by Kirsty Eagar and 'The Messenger Bird' by Rosanne Hawke

Reviewed by
July–August 2012, no. 343

Pam Macintyre reviews 'Preloved' by Shirley Marr, 'Night Beach' by Kirsty Eagar and 'The Messenger Bird' by Rosanne Hawke

Reviewed by
July–August 2012, no. 343

Adolescent girls aged sixteen to seventeen are at the centre of these three Young Adult novels: girls whose heightened emotional states prompt supernatural events. Broken families, disconnection from parents, obsession, music, art, and death impel the protagonists to seek solace and healing in the metaphysical. For Shirley Marr (Black Dog Books, $18.95 pb, 272 pp, 9781742031903), it is the Chinese understanding of the ‘preloved’ and their resonance in the present that engenders the attractive ghost Logan. For Kirsty Eagar (Penguin, $19.95 pb, 314 pp, 9780143206552) it is the creative impulse, the painter’s obsession with ‘seeing’ beyond the surface of things, that evokes the dark landscape in which Abbie struggles for meaning. For Rosanne Hawke (University of Queensland Press, $19.95 pb, 252 pp, 9780702238826), it is profound grief following the death of the protagonist’s brother.

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