By Elizabeth Knox
Well. Wrap your eyeballs around this novel. I finished reading Wake last night and it was a really unpredictable read. The novel centres around the 13 survivors (plus a mysterious 14th) of a strange madness/sickness that struck the small coastal settlement of Kahukura near Nelson. At first I thought it was really disjointed, that I didn’t know what was going on as it jumped from character to character, just like the characters in the novel … then had the well, duh moment! The reader doesn’t know what’s going on because the characters don’t know what’s going on.
It’s about death, it’s about survival, about how people cope or don’t cope in horrific situations. A word to the squeamish, it can be a bit grizzly in parts. So it’s like Elizabeth Knox’s novels in that it is set in ordinary, everyday settings where major other worldly things happen.
Would I recommend it. Absolutely. It was a quick read for me, and would have been quicker if I hadn’t been reading two books. I like to read a book on the train and something funny or “non-stressful” before bed … although I have been reading Terry Pratchett at night and he can be funny but deep. I belted through Wake as I have belted through all of Elizabeth Knox’s novels, except Black Oxen. I was at a Book Council event where Elizabeth Knox said that she was most (and I am paraphrasing here) proud of was Black Oxen. Didn’t really grab me … the different parts felt too different. Mind you, I haven’t finished it, and I was reading it when I was a very new mother during those early morning feeds, so I really should finish it before I pass too hard a judgement.
Elizabeth Knox talks about Wake in her blog.
The cover art actually depicts scenes from the novel, and was illustrated by Dylan Horrocks, the creator of Hicksville.