One of our dozen Top Aussie Reads of 2016
The End of Seeing Synopsis :
You saw something here – something that connects this town to the fishermen on the Italian docks and the silhouettes in the charcoal nights by the sea. I am so tired of all the things that you aren’t here to tell me.
Determined to discover the truth about the disappearance of her partner, Nick, Ana sets out to re-trace the route he took as a photojournalist on the other side of the world — a journey that saw him presumed dead, on a ship wrecked off the coast of Italy.
But Ana doesn’t believe Nick is dead. In his photos, in the messages her memories of him seem to carry, and in her growing suspicion about his own need to disappear, she is increasingly sure he is alive somewhere.
As she tracks his journey, she begins to witness the world that Nick saw through his camera — a world in which disappearance is not unexpected.
Christy Collins’ novella The End of Seeing is searingly poignant, quietly profound and countless more superlatives. But such effusive praise sits in stark contrast to the sparing yet artful prose that has evoked it.
I look at the silhouette a long time and by the time I hang the photo on the line I’ve decided: I will follow this until I am rid of your shadow sewn to mine, your voice in my head, until I don’t feel your absence in each room. And I will return home only when this is over an all that’s left is a memory like a bruise, only painful when examined.
It is not hard to see why this title was among three winners of the 2015 Seizure Viva La Novella Prize.
Collins plain speaking and largely introspective narrative of a grieving yet determined widow, highlights the intimacy of global issues such as the refugee crisis, should we open ourselves up to them. The standpoint, not from a pedestal, but that of an individual simply trying to keep their head above water with an emotional well that is finite, only heightens its impact.
In Rachel Watt’s review I think she describes this particular quality beautifully,
This is a novella that seems important in a global, the time is now, kind of way. But it’s a painting, a sonnet, not a protest march. Or perhaps it’s both.
There is great artistry in Collins’ subtle exploration of different viewpoints – from behind a camera, from within a marriage, from someone marked as an outsider due to religious, political or commercial affiliation, or simply due to fickle circumstance. This work is as haunting as the Russell Edson poem ‘Of Memory and Distance‘ that inspired its title. And amongst all this there are mysteries (other than the philosophical) to be solved.
The End of Seeing is a must read, but not an easy one. Deeply affecting, this narrative speaks to the wounded beauty of people and society. Where there is great loss, one can also find survival and its myriad choices. One of my best books of 2016 so far.
Christy Collins’ talent is enviable, and one I will follow with great interest.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 5 / 5
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Genre: Literature, Romance, Drama, Mystery
Author Information: Christy Collins is a Melbourne-based writer. Her (as yet unpublished) first novel was shortlisted for the Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award and longlisted for the Vogel. She is currently studying a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Tasmania.
At the time of writing, Christy Collins’ The End of Seeing had a Goodreads rating of 4.56 stars.
* My receiving a copy of this book from the author for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions in the review above.