'I am a writer and words are my weapon.'
Tarryn Fisher's desire to use her words as weapons is evident in nearly every page of her gut wrenching tour de force, 'Mud Vein', and for this reason (and others), I found it very difficult to review.
Chief among my difficulties is the 'spoiler' problem. I really, really don't want to give too much away.
'Mud Vein' is a book that needs discovering page by page, on a personal level. Rest assured however, what I need to tell you, I will.
Things to know before reading 'Mud Vein'.
1) Fisher has set out to provoke and where possible upset her readers. She wants readers (women in particular) to recognise themselves in her heroine's plight. I think Fisher would be quite happy to know her readers lay awake at night (preferably sobbing) after reading her latest book!
2)'Mud Vein' contains strong adult themes, including kidnap and rape (though these events, surprisingly are not related), so I would not recommend it for younger readers.
My thoughts, after reading 'Mud Vein'
The phrase 'page turner' is a cliche for a reason, sometimes you cannot but help keep turning the pages regardless of time or responsibility. Mud Vein kept me turning pages long into the night and I read it from cover to cover in one day. (Frozen dinners for my family that night!)
The central character, Senna, is an author with a shell that is tougher than concrete. Senna tries her best to distance herself from the world at large and she should be unlikeable; somehow however her brutal and honest approach does not distance either the reader or other characters.
The best and most compelling sections in the book revolve around the frankly odd kidnap setup, where Senna awakes to find herself in a cabin surrounded by snow with no memory of how she got there. The writing during these scenes is tight, believable and emotional. Fisher does not EVER forget to be real about her characters state of mind, thus the characters react in ways that are apt for people who are locked in a cabin in the middle of an Alaskan wilderness (oops I keep letting plot lines slip!).
There is no jarring happiness or lingering looks in front of a roaring fire. Terror, despair and anger are the order of the day.
There is a strong element of mystery in the plot as well, who is behind the kidnapping and why? Fisher does not create an easy guess here and I will say all my assumptions behind the 'who and why' were wrong. In this case, I enjoyed being wrong!
I would recommend reading this book for its sheer originality, I have not read a book quite like this before and while I did not personally have any emotional revelations, I believed in those that the characters had.
While this book would definitely NOT be everyones cup of tea, (especially if you like your books gentle and refined), it was mine!
Mud Vein is available for purchase through Amazon.com via the following link:
Similar reviews can be accessed through the links below:
Tarryn Fishers Website: http://www.tarrynfisher.com/