Tuesday 11 August 2020

A Song Of Isolation by Michael J Malone @michaelJmalone1 @OrendaBooks #ASongOfIsolation #BookReview

Film star Amelie Hart is the darling of the silver screen, appearing on the front pages of every newspaper. But at the peak of her fame she throws it all away for a regular guy with an ordinary job. The gossip columns are aghast: what happened to the woman who turned heads wherever she went?

Any hope the furore will die down are crushed when Amelie’s boyfriend Dave is arrested on charges of child sexual abuse. Dave strongly asserts his innocence, and when Amelie refuses to denounce him, the press witch hunt quickly turns into physical violence, and she has to flee the country.

While Dave is locked up with the most depraved men in the country and Amelie is hiding on the continent, Damaris, the victim at the centre of the story, is isolated – a child trying to make sense of an adult world.

Breathtakingly brutal, dark and immensely moving, A Song of Isolation looks beneath the magpie glimmer of celebrity to uncover a sinister world dominated by greed and lies, and the unfathomable destruction of innocent lives … in an instant.

A Song of Isolation by Michael J Malone is published by Orenda Books; ebook on 17 July 2020, followed by paperback publication on 17 September 2020. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I have read all of Michael J Malone's books published by Orenda, and a couple of his previous publications too. This is an author who is very difficult to put into a box; his books are thrilling, they are psychologically challenging, they always deal with the darker side of humanity and they are always beautifully written, with a tenderness and insight that is often breathtaking.

A Song Of Isolation's central theme is that of child sexual abuse, it is done with compassion and sensitivity, there's no gratuitous detail, in fact there's no detail of any abuse at all. This is about the effects of accusations; on the accused, their family, and on the child. A totally absorbing and compelling study in how many lives can be shattered, never to be repaired, by the actions of one other person. It's haunting in its realism, it's frightening in its motive and the effects are devastating.

Malone tells his story in three voices. Dave; the accused. Amelie; his girlfriend, and Damaris; the young girl at the centre of the accusations. His ability to create three contrasting voices, each telling their own version of the same story is stunning and as the reader uncovers the multi layered stories, the questions are constantly buzzing around their head.

This author invest so much into his characters that the reader cannot help but do that too. My heart ached for each of them, there's such a sense of soul woven into the narrative, along with a feeling of unbearable annoyance and anger as the realisation of what may have happened hits the reader.

A Song Of Isolation is a complex, riveting novel of dying hope, desperation and utter sadness. It is both tragic and profound and, for me, a complete page-turner. Highly recommended.

Michael J. Malone was born and brought up in the heart of Burns' country, just a stone's throw from the great man's cottage in Ayr. Well, a stone thrown by a catapult, maybe.

He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. His career as a poet has also included a (very) brief stint as the Poet-In-Residence for an adult gift shop. Don't ask.

BLOOD TEARS, his debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge:Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers and when it was published he added a "J" to his name to differentiate it from the work of his talented U.S. namesake.

He can be found on twitter - @michaelJmalone1

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