First published: 2015
This morning I started this book.
I’ve read the previous two books of this author, and I loved them. In this novel we are introduced to Ruby, who is a clever, ten-year-old girl. Ruby’s peculiarity is that she is deaf, but her language non-verbal skills are wonderful, and I love her reflections. Her mother, Yasmin, and Ruby travel to Alaska as Matt, Ruby’s father, is working there, filming wildlife documentaries. They were supposed to travel to Alaska for Christmas, but Yasmin has moved the trip four weeks forward as we learn later that her marriage is having problems. There’s another woman, an Inupiaq woman, who Matt has at least kissed. This is the second time Matt has travelled to Alaska, and Yasmin is worried that the pull of this other woman is stronger, and she fears that the life she gives him is suffocating him.
Then when they arrive in Alaska, Matt is nowhere to be seen, and a police officer welcomes them. He has bad news; In the little village he was staying, there has been an explosion and everything was set on fire, and the policeman informs her that there are no survivors. Yasmin won’t believe her husband is dead even though the evidence proves the opposite. There are twenty-four dead bodies on the spot, of whom twenty-three were locals, and the twenty-fourth corpse is supposed to be Matt. They also found his wedding band and his satellite phone. Yasmin has explanations for everything: he usually takes off his ring when he’s working, and he must have dropped his telephone there.
When Yasmin realises that the police won’t help her, she decides to go there. After much enquiring, she engages the help of a lorry driver who would take her and Ruby up north in terrible conditions. There’s another element that might cause problems to Yasmin. A man by the name of Silesian Tennet, who is an activist against fracking, seems to have taken a liking to Yasmin. Ruby often mentions that her mother is as beautiful as a film star, but people don’t take her seriously as they think a beautiful woman can’t be intelligent – and Yasmin is an astrophysicist. I have the suspicion that Silesian is following the lorry in which Ruby and Yasmin travel, and I’m sure he’ll cause problems.
I’m not sure whether to believe in Yasmin’s faith or intuition. Everything proves that Matt is dead, and if he isn’t dead, who is the twenty-fourth person found dead? And if he’s alive, where is he? Yasmin has a couple of explanations: he went for help when the explosion took place, and maybe he was out filming. Both explanations are weak, but I want to believe that her husband is alive and will be back to them. Despite her disability, Ruby is a sharp, funny, lovely girl, and I would hate it if she were to lose one parent, something that Yasmin also fears as she knows from experience what that can do to a child.
Interesting start! I’m already hooked and dying to know if Yasmin is right.