A Summer of Drowning by John Burnside - review by Thomas Marks

Thomas Marks

Liv and Let Die

A Summer of Drowning

By

Jonathan Cape 336pp £16.99 order from our bookshop
 

Like The Turn of the Screw, a novel for which John Burnside has expressed his admiration, A Summer of Drowning is one of those ghostly narratives that lure us into lending credence to the buckled imaginings of their narrators, then leave us to contend with a vivid, unnerving sense of our own mental susceptibility.

Liv, the narrator here, is a solitary, introspective young woman: she’s been brought up on a remote island in the Arctic Circle by a reclusive painter, Angelika Rossdal, who is an exceptional landscapist but an indifferent mother. Company is limited to a forlorn band of her mother’s ‘suitors’

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