Beth Teller was a girl that was tragically killed in a car accident when she was a teenager. Since her death, the only person that has been able to see and communicate with her (in a spirit-like way) is her father, who works as a forensic investigator. He has been unable to live the same way he used to while she was still alive, so Beth persists him to return to his normal life by working again. The case he is given is related to a fire that burnt down a school house in a remote Australian town that left behind very little evidence. As the difficult investigation unfolds, both Beth and her father must deal with problems regarding the committed crime and what will happen to the two of them in the near future.
The aspect of this book that I found the most fascinating was the difference in the way the story was told by Isobel Catching as opposed to Beth. In the story, Catching is a girl who is viewed as a possible witness for the crime in which Beth’s father is investigating. The only time she speaks is when Beth and her father visit her in the hospital, but she never flatly states what she saw with her own eyes like Beth does. Instead, she tells her side of the story in a poetic, metaphorical way that is another story on its own. With Catching’s interesting first-hand recollections of the event in question and Beth’s interpretations of the real world, the story is truly complete.
Through reading this book, I learned to understand the importance of how literature can define that cultures that they represent. Elements of this specific novel were taken from Aboriginal cultures in Australia, and other similar stories written about different cultures show the rest of the world what values they hold and unique aspects of their society. Readers of these stories, additionally, can gain a new perspective and understand a little more about the world around them.
reviewed by Griffin, Gayton Library