In Harriet McKnight’s début novel, a story about early onset dementia is offset by a second conservation-focused narrative involving the glossy black cockatoo. This braided structure immediately creates anticipation about where and how the two stories will meet.
Pina is the primary carer for her husband, Alan, whose illness now dictates the rhythm of their lives. The illness is erasing Alan’s memory along with his personality as it becomes increasingly difficult for him ‘to keep a grip on what was real and what wasn’t’. Pina is steadfast in her determination to care for him at home, even when his symptoms begin to feel ‘like a personal affront’.