We are all connected to our past; to our relatives and to choices – sometimes choices and determinations made by someone else.
‘Nine Days’ opens with the voice of Kip as a young boy, dealing with a grieving mother and the family situation which has resulted from his father’s untimely death. Kip is accepting, but seems unfairly dealt with; he is the younger twin sent out to work, while his spoilt, 7-minutes older brother is able to remain at school.
In his ‘day’ we learn much about the Westaway family, whose history unrolls as further chapters unfold. The days that follow deal with other members of Kip’s family and across four different generations, with many questions along the way…
How was his older sister, Connie trapped/ affected by the attitudes of the times? Did the favouritism offered to his twin brother, Frank, lead to a prosperous and happy lifestyle?
For Toni Jordan, this is her third novel; though it differs from her past books. Inspiration began with a photo – shown on the front cover of the book. From this, Jordan has magically woven and interwoven her tales of the Westaway family, each chapter dealing with a defining day in the life of one of the family members.
‘Nine Days’ feels like a bit of a jigsaw puzzle to me. Since the chapters focus on one individual in the extended Westaway family, then jump across time and back again. As a reader you have to join the pieces together to see how they fit. It raises a number of different issues, and makes you wonder how things might have turned out differently with slight changes to choices made by some of the characters. Indeed, some chapters leave you with a sense that more could be told. In many ways, this is a sign of a good book – it shows the reader is hooked and wants to know more.
Many people have commented favourably on this book – particularly online at GoodReads (a great site to share everything about great reading!). For a longer review, see http://whisperinggums.com/2012/09/09/toni-jordan-nine-days-review/. For an interview with Toni Jordan about writing ‘Nine Days’, see the video below:
# ‘Nine Days’ was a winner recently in the Indie Awards for Best Fiction 2013 – http://www.indies.com.au/BookAwards.aspx