Review No.207 – Bellman & Black

Bellman & Black – Diane Setterfield

Emily Bestler Books/ Atria, 2013

A boy aims his catapult in an impossible throw, and succeeds. He kills a rook that day. Before long the incident is forgotten, because for William Bellman overstepping the bounds of what is possible becomes the norm; growing into a man of remarkable drive and ambition, it seems his path in life is set to be a glorious one. Rooks, however, forget nothing at all.

I’m not really sure what this book was meant to be about, but I don’t trust rooks any more. There are several key elements of the plot Setterfield does not resolve, and while the story never lacks momentum it’s never clear, even right at the end, where she’s intending to go. Somehow she pulls it off, with her elegant, enigmatic style creating a beautifully ominous atmosphere. Don’t read the blurb on the book if you don’t want to be spoiled for half the plot – Bellman & Black requires a careful build-up to have its full impact.

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