What an odd little book. Michelle de Kretser's Springtime is called a ghost story. Well, there's a ghost, and the main character sees it, and doesn't realize it's a ghost. And, that's it. This Australian novella just surprised me. Even knowing it was a novella, and was short, I ended up thinking, that's it? Where's the character development? What really happened here?
Twenty-eight-year-old Frances seems haunted by her own actions. Soon after she met Charlie, he left his wife for her. But, Charlie was still connected to his past by his son, and his mother, and the women he had loved before. And, even Frances' thoughts seem haunted. When Charlie's mother dies, "That meant Charlie was free of her, Frances believed."
But, is anyone really free of the past? Although the couple moved from Melbourne to Sidney, friends told them what they'd leave behind. Even Frances' dog, Rod, a rescue, was frightened of other dogs, and Rod weighs sixty-eight pounds. It's on a walk with Rod that Frances sees the woman who seemed to be only on the fringes of her vision, the woman in a wild garden with a bull terrier. And, the only time Frances seems to see her is when no one is around.
Believe it or not, I haven't written a spoiler here. There is a surprise in this ghost story set on sunny Australian days, not bleak ghostly days. But, a ghost story? I'm not so sure I'd call it that, unless the author is thinking of ghosts of the past. If you find that all intriguing, check out Michelle de Kretser's Springtime.
Springtime by Michelle de Kretser. Catapult. 2014. ISBN 9781936787432 (paperback), 85p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.