Kate Walker's Reviews > No Tears for My Father: A true story of incest

No Tears for My Father by Viga Boland
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's review
Aug 01, 2013

it was amazing

Honestly Unforgettable
You might forget a few of the books you pick up this year. But you won’t forget this one. No Tears For My Father is a true story of child abuse, written with an honesty almost as unbelievable as the story itself. As I read, I kept wanting this story not to be true. But truth has its own ring that writers of fiction cannot achieve.
Author, Viga Boland, tells of thirteen years of her life from childhood to young womanhood, during which time she was abused by her father almost daily. In documenting this time, Viga lays herself bare, nothing withheld, yet no histrionics. There’s violence and terror aplenty in this book but the facts are simply owned and plainly told by a courageous heart with no thought of or need for artifice.
I don’t doubt the author chose with care which events to include and which to leave out. Still, I believe this is an instance where life has out-performed art. The drama builds from event to event, year to year, with every dramatic element accounted for, right up to the moment of resolution.
Most compelling for me were the insights the writer brought to bear on her characters. Chapter by chapter, she explores their motives and plumbs their depths, such as the mother’s broken spirit and denial. Or was it just a blind eye? The father’s twisted logic that justified and sanctioned his every act. From what cauldron was this monster born? There are hints, but who can say definitively?
Upon herself, the author throws open the window on ceaseless inner rages, tugs-of-war between guilt and resentment, hope and despair. Through these inner trials we observe first-hand how a mind struggles to hold onto sanity and a spirit holds onto life. Moreover, how a heart goes on seeking love despite there being so little love in her world.
For me, the most heartrending moments of the narrative occurred around lines such as: ‘I was guilty of his sin’ and ‘It took less courage to stay in hell … I was a coward’. This book, though about abuse, is about the human spirit and its ability to rise above the abominable and realise its true, shining nature, its never-sullied worth. For others who’ve suffered the same, this book is a beacon – a promise of healing from one who’s made the trek.
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Reading Progress

August 1, 2013 – Started Reading
August 1, 2013 – Shelved
August 1, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Viga Boland Thank you so much Kate for this wonderful review of my book. You, as an award-winning author, have paid me the highest compliment by saying "truth has it's own ring that writers of fiction cannot achieve" and that I have told my story "with no thought of or need for artifice".

Do you know how good that makes me feel, how much it reaffirms that not only was my story worth telling, but that I delivered it well too? While the subject itself is of interest, it's still essential, for me as a fledgling author, to hold the reader's interest with more than just my story. Your words tell me I've succeeded as a writer too, and coming from you, one so skilled in the craft of writing, I am truly honoured.

Kate Walker My pleasure, Viga. Every part of the book is a good fit. The structure builds and resolves to a dramatic whole. The telling is clear. Mercifully distanced from the experience now, you've been able to lucidly present thoughts and feelings that must have overwhelmed you at the time. Not any more. You've captured the whole - the events, the emotions, the insights and your reader's unqualified sympathies.

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