Tuesday 16 July 2013

The Story of Before by Susan Stairs

"I wonder today how no one else could see the bad thing coming. Not that I knew back then what the bad thing was; and if I had - if I'd known one of us was going to die - would there have been anything I could have done to prevent it? I play it all back in my mind, over and over. The clues were all there."

The Story of Before
 The Story of Before is set in Ireland during the 1970s and is told from eleven year old Ruth's point of view. On New Years Eve she's watching it snow with her brother Mel and sister Sandra when she tells them she's sure something bad is going to happen in the coming year. Their baby brother Kevin is born on the day the family move to a new home on a Dublin housing estate.

I read this in just two days, it is very atmospheric and the tension builds throughout the story making it difficult to put down, I thought the descriptions of what it's like to be a child growing up on a housing estate were excellent. I kept trying to work out what the bad thing was but there were a few false alarms and twists which stopped me from getting it right, when everything is revealed it's heartbreaking and not made any less so by the fact you know something awful is going to happen.

A very good debut novel from Susan Stairs and I look forward to reading more by her.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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