Modest and unassuming as ever, Catherine Hall hosted the launch of her third novel – The Repercussions – at Daunt Books in Hampstead which we at Elysion Events had the pleasure of attending. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy last week and this is what I thought:
Catherine Hall’s writing has been described by the Independent as having a “terse and fierce precision that tightens into tragic fury”, but this is only half the story. She writes with empathy, warmth and often touching sadness capturing every nuance of her first character’s complex return home after years working as a war photographer. The Repercussions is a book both of personal discovery and an admission of individual limitation. Her two principle characters are women making sense of their experiences, confiding their struggles and astonishments to letter and diary, both straining to maintain a façade of normality whilst living with their private turmoil.
She manages to evoke the horror and confusion of World War One and twin it with current day experience, laying bare the personal cost of conflict. In amongst the often harrowing settings, the book blossoms hope through its tales of love and longing which expertly manage to keep humanity as the core theme and lend a softness and compassion to the whole book.
Catherine writes in vivid style, easily transporting the reader to a dusty market in Afghanistan or the grandiose hospital housed in the halls of Brighton Pavilion. It’s a lovely and touching novel; not always comfortable reading, but somehow sad and optimistic at the same time – a perfect read for an autumnal night.
The Repercussions – reviewed by Lauren Pett