I thought I was picking up a ghost story, something light that I could flick through. I was wrong!
The Haunting of Henry Twist is an amazing piece of writing. Each word draws you to the next and whilst, every now and then, you will need to put it down just to breathe in the exquisite detail and imagery, you will be back turning the pages with a renewed sense of awe very soon.
Rebecca F John has a talent to fashion words into a tapestry, one in which your own perceptions will affect the image created. Her writing is skilful, using intricate language in a way that allows the reader to not only see, but experience the scenes being portrayed. On finishing reading, I am at a loss as to whether I like or dislike the ending, such is the intensity of the story and the complexity of its twists and turns.
This is a love story that has the character of Ruby haunting the lives of all other participants in the story, her memory sewing a silken thread through the grief and lives of the players in this 1920s parade of pretence, illicit parties and friendships.
Henry is a broken man, left a single father by a tragic accident and seeking answers to the question of reincarnation as he deals with his loss. Matilda too, is broken. She loves Henry, is married to Grayson and is watching her marriage and her aspirations dissolve in front of her as she misses her friend and uses Ruby and alcohol as a filter for her world. Jack is not what he seems and yet he is both the breaking point and saviour of many of the people he becomes involved with.
This is not a ghost story, but one of the haunting of the soul, a whisper that continues to invade the thoughts and memories relived in minute detail in order to make sense of the world as it unfurls in a time of change and uncertainty. It is not a tale to be skimmed through, but a book that requires you to take the time to absorb the intimacies alluded to and feel the swirling emotions put before you.
Reviewed by Leanne Caune
Rating out of 10: 8
Distributed by: Allen & Unwin
Release Date: August 2017
RRP: $ 29.99 hardcover