What Red Was

What Red Was

A Novel

Book - 2019
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When Kate Quaile meets Max Rippon in the first week of university, so begins a life-changing friendship. Over the next four years, the two become inseparable. For him, she breaks her solitude; for her, he leaves his busy circles behind. But knowing Max means knowing his family: the wealthy Rippons, all generosity, social ease, and quiet repression. Theirs is a very different world from Kate's own upbringing, and yet she soon finds herself drawn into their gilded lives and the secrets that lie beneath. Until one evening, at a summer party at the Rippon's home just after graduation, her life is shattered in a bedroom while the music plays on downstairs. What Red Was is an incisive and mesmerizing novel about power, privilege, and consent - one that fearlessly examines the effects of trauma on the mind and body of a young woman, the tyrannies of memory, the sacrifices involved in staying silent, and the courage in speaking out. And when Kate does, it raises this urgent question: Whose story is it now?
Publisher: [Toronto] : Hamish Hamilton, ©2019.
ISBN: 9780735237698
Characteristics: 317 pages ;,24 cm.

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STPL_Kerry Sep 04, 2019

I found this book is hard to review / rate. This novel involves very difficult subject matter and is written with wisdom and intelligence, yet I found myself distanced from the characters, unable to get emotionally invested. I think there are two main factors that contributed to this: firstly, it is narrated in a candid, detached manner rather devoid of emotion. The narrative is often stark, dispassionate, almost pragmatic . Secondly, it is narrated in the voice of many different characters, which results in almost superficial character development - you can’t really get invested in any one person (however, this possibly makes it easier to read about the trauma / complex emotions). That being said, this is not a negative review – at no point was this book boring or tedious – on the contrary. I will warn you though that it is at times graphic or disturbing.

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