Bought this book solely by the recommendation on the jacket cover based on the quote from the UK Guardian "The best thing to come out of Australia since Peter Carey". Another positive statement on the inside cover, from the Who Weekly, "...combines emotional power with assured artistic polish", that clinched my decision to buy the book. Interested in other cultures, I had no idea, *not* a clue ... about the deeply disturbing subject matter of this book. A word to this wise, there are a few explicit disturbing descriptions of s*x*al perversion. Frankly, I would not have read this book had I known. Nothing in the title or cover descriptions (inside or outside) leads one to suspect. While I give it 5 stars for drama, suspense, characterization, artisic and creative writing, the author's extraordinairy ability to write about deep psychological problems ... still, I feel I was tricked into reading the book. However, as a reviewer, to new readers, I am upfront about its contents. Oddly enough, I do highly recommend this book,if one does not mind reading about this topic.
Rachel Gallagher and Anne-Louise Buchanan, two very different personalities who were born and raised in Brisbane, Australia, become best friends as they share similar artistic careers at a fashion magazine. They escape their mundane existence in Brisaben, to explore artistic career options in London, UK. Each gets odd jobs, one in a women's clothing store; the other as a waitress. They dreams of making it big in the world as famous artists. Oddly enough for one of these two, the dream comes true. The author alternates the stories and lives of each main character in subsequent chapters. We are first introduced to Martin James Bannister, a handsome stock broker and trader in Hong Kong. We learn of his career climb after graduating from the London School of Economics. He kept his social background suitably vague so that although he was from a working class background, no one knew or suspected. The author reveals and explores different psycholiogcal aspects of the main characters by reviewing how they were raised and the impact of key familial relationships on their personalities. This clever writing device gives the unsuspecting reader clues to future problems, however innocent the early life experiences sound, they carry the seeds of destruction ... in the future. The book is riveting and eerie ... the bonds of friendship link these two friends and pull them down deeper and deepr into a whirling abysss of unusual life experiences of chaotic and destructive proportions. Only in later chapters does the reader connect early developmental experiences and family relationships that lead to personality and behavioral patterns. These culminate into major problems that are woven as the main themes of this book. These three lives are trapped because of their past ... not by lies ... but somehow their life experiences and personalities interlink and hook in the most twisted ways ... unimaginable except by the author. Uniquely interesting book. Erika Borsos (erikab93)