x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

We All Ran into the Sunlight: a pleasingly dark morality tale

Book Review A village in France is the setting for a story that's a satisfying alternative to sunny summer reads.

We All Ran into the Sunlight 
Natalie Young
Short Books Ltd
Dh47
We All Ran into the Sunlight Natalie Young Short Books Ltd Dh47

When a child is lost on a beach, head towards the sun in search of them. "Because children naturally walk towards the light. Always." So claims a character in Natalie Young's debut novel. The plot turns on the theme of obsession borne of loss: of hope, of a loved one, of self.

This is a morality tale; an unfurling of consequences. Arnaud and Lucie Borja leave the post-war privations of Paris for a village in the southern Cevennes. They buy a château. They plant vines. They perpetrate a deception whose poison bleeds through the years. Six decades later, Londoners Kate and Stephen Glover arrive on sabbatical. Kate's fascination with the château - its vines now withered - provides a catalyst, rousing ghosts and stirring her own restless spirit.

There are a couple of false starts before Young hits her stride. Undue prominence is given to Kate and Stephen - the least compelling thread - as they are forever wiping duck grease from their chins and marvelling at the ripeness of French tomatoes. But this is a pleasingly dark alternative to sunny summer reads.