A Series of Small Manoeuvres
Out on a camping trip, 15 year old Emma inadvertently causes her father’s death. Swapping between the days preceding and then following the accident, this novel depicts how life can change rapidly around death and how one girl survives the rapids to the other side.
This novel doesn’t have an ending. Sure, the novel ends, but you are left not knowing all the answers. But that’s ok! I didn’t mind that I didn’t have all the answers, because it allowed me to really delve into the text, and come to my own conclusions. Enough had been said that I was satisfied.
What was refreshing about this novel was that Emma didn’t need a love interest or a best friend to get out of her trauma. It’s a more relatable picture of grief, and so so realistic. Not everyone has a soul mate waiting to pick them up! Emma has to deal with things by herself, and through that come to realisations about life.
The swapping between the time periods could have been confusing, but Treichel made the time periods so obvious, even a serial chapter heading ignorer like me could manage. It was obvious that she survived anyway, so it’s not like that was a giveaway. The hints at the future from the authorial voice worked for me.
So what about the world-building? Well, I think the camping scenario got plenty of air-time, but the outside world was dim in comparison. Again, that seemed to reflect the way Emma and her dad thought about the world – everything is deeper and more colourful in the bush. The other characters? I would have loved to hear more about Peg, and really very few other characters got a full space of description. They weren’t the point of the novel though, so I wasn’t worried.
The more I think about this novel, the more stars I want to give it. Unfortunately, for me, it’s no longer a reread (a bit outside my age group perhaps?). But I do think it has a lot to offer. 4 very strong stars from me, and a wish I could give it 4.5 stars.
Thanks to the lovely people at Ooligan Press for sending me a review copy of this novel. They publish great things!