Saturday, June 14, 2014

Ghostwritten by Isabel Wolff

An incredible painful, but rich tale of internment camps!


In Isabel Wolff’s poignant and bittersweet tenth novel, a ghostwriter is haunted by a childhood tragedy as she brings to light a forgotten story of the Second World War.

Jenni loves her job as a ghostwriter—it satisfies her insatiable curiosity about people. It also means that she can hide behind the stories of others and not think about her own life too much.

But when Jenni starts work on the memoirs of a survivor of the Japanese internment camps in Java, striking coincidences force her to examine her own past.

Gripping, moving and meticulously researched, Ghostwritten delivers Isabel Wolff’s signature blend of pathos, mystery and romance. It also sheds light on a forgotten chapter of history and shimmers with an element of the supernatural that will tingle the reader’s spine.

Jenni Clark is a young woman with a dark past – she holds herself responsible for your young brothers death when they were children. As an adult, she is a ghostwriter – she makes a living by writing other people’s stories. She is asked by an acquaintance to write the memoirs of Klara, an elderly Dutch woman from Cornwall who used to live on a plantation in the Dutch East Indies, and in an internment camp under Japanese occupation.  

As Klara begins to unburden herself of long buried secrets and suffering, the reader is exposed to the incredible cruelty women and children suffered while imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp. Klara’s suffering slowly unfolds and is exceedingly disturbing, but also enthralling.

To say this novel has great depth would be an understatement. The plot and subplots unfold with rich layers, and is like peeling the skin from an onion – with every layer, come more dark secrets, surprises, and revelations. In between Klara’s tale, Jenni’s tale slowly unfolds. She draws some parallels from Klara’s story and compares them to her life. Through Klara’s pain, Jenni learns to accept the past and forgive herself, just as Klara had to do the same decades prior.

This is an amazing novel that will profoundly move you as it educates readeards about historic events during World War II but that happened beyond Europe’s borders. Incredibly raw, horrific, but lush descriptions make this novel one not to miss. Prepare yourself for a wonderfully complex plot, an emotional roller coaster ride, and plenty of jaw-dropping scenes that mesmerize. It culminates in one hugely satisfying ending! This is a definite must read for the summer!