Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lyn Loates – David Ling – $34.99

Published last Friday this first novel from journalist Lyn Loates is a remarkable piece of writing that had me glued from the moment I started it. Publisher David Ling has unearthed a major new writing talent here.

This is what David Ling has to say about the book:

Like most publishers I get a lot of manuscripts, but two pages into Butterscotch I knew this was an author who could really write. I just kept reading. I have since found I am not alone in my enthusiasm for this book. An earlier manuscript assessor wrote to Lyn saying, “It is so refreshing (and rare) to read a genuinely original, clever and intriguing piece of fiction, which has flair and intelligence and humour and is carefully crafted to boot. Butterscotch is an extremely well thought out and well written novel, presented in a manner that is not at all easy to sustain, You also, on the whole, manage a dauntingly large cast of characters with considerable skill.” And an Australian colleague, responding to the proofs replied, “Thanks for sending this text - what a terrific writer Lyn Loates is! A fabulous voice and a really attractive narrative style.”

The Bookman endorses these comments.
Butterscotch is part historical, part mystery and part family saga with an obsessive event at its core - the 1954 Parker Hulme murder case in Christchurch.
Helen Mainyard was eight years old when her father suddenly moved the family from their Christchurch, NZ home to Melbourne, Australia and she always believed that this move was in response to the high profile murder. When she is twenty-one she discovers the real reason which causes her to revisit her childhood.
Set largely in Christchurch, but also in Melbourne, London & Cambridge, and covering mainly the years 1952-1984, this impressive work is peopled with a large array of characters, likeable and not, all wonderfully drawn.
Quite superb, completely unputdownable.

Lyn Loates created the novel around an incident that had happened to her as a school child. She spelt winter as ‘witner’ and was given a vituperative tongue lashing by her teacher. Lyn wondered why anyone would treat an innocent mistake by a child in that way and began creating a story around the lives of the child and teacher. As readers of Butterscotch will find it grew marvellously from there, and indeed the incident is used in the book.

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