Aug 14, 09
Read in January, 2008
One of the first things that struck me about The Voices is that one of the viewpoints in the book is first-person plural. With such an unusual POV, I knew that this was definitely going to be a book to see what happens in.
Susan Elderkin is a strong, powerful writer who can truly represent her characters and the world they move in with exquisite precision. The writing in this book is some of the best I've read in a long time, and it might even seem slightly odd to anyone familiar with her work, but I was slightly reminded of Kurt Vonnegut while reading this book. Perhaps it was the sharp understated humour of the narrators or the short hard chapters with quippy titles. Perhaps it was the threatening existentialism underneath the writing or the desolate landscapes with lone characters moving through a sea of humanity.
I enjoyed this book, but I found it a hard slog occasionally, and only give it a 3-star rating because of the difficulty of subject matter and chewy (yet beautiful) prose. This took me a long time to read, and I was a bit desolate at times in the middle, but I am glad I stuck through and finished it, because while the ending was quiet, it also helped give closure for the whole story.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book unless a reader is looking for a deeper story about spirituality and aboriginal issues and human suffering. However, I will look for other books by Elderkin and try her again.