Review: The First Week by Margaret Merrilees

Title: The First Week

Author: Margaret Merrilees

Published: Wakefield Press September 2013

Read an Extract

Status: Read from October 27 to 29, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Margaret Merrilees explores the themes of blame, guilt and responsibility in her literary debut novel, The First Week.

Marian is stunned when her youngest son, Charlie, inexplicably shoots two strangers. She travels from the family farm in Western Australia’s wheatbelt to the city, desperate to understand what has happened, struggling with grief, confusion and shock.

While I could understand Marion’s bewilderment I found I was often intensely irritated by her passivity. As a woman who had coped with the early death of her husband and kept the family farm afloat as a single mother of two, I was surprised at how uninformed, and how unformed, she seemed to be. I often wanted to shake her, especially during her vague interactions with the police, lawyer, psychologist and even her son. It was a relief when she finally expressed some strong emotion – anger, sadness and ultimately some strength.

I’m not entirely sure how to reconcile Charlie’s situation with the social issues Merrilees explores in The First Week. Though they share a common theme, I felt Merrilees lectures on environmental responsibility and racism overwhelmed Marian’s intimate struggle and rendered Charlie almost irrelevant. That we never learn why Charlie did what he did was also a source of some disappointment for me.

I’m not sure I can say I enjoyed The First Week though I found the premise thought provoking, and I admired Merrilees writing which is articulate and evocative. I was just too frustrated by the questions left unanswered.

Available To Purchase From

Wakefield Press I Boomerang Books I Booktopia I Amazon Kindle

via Booko

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