October, by Zoe Wicomb
Reviewer: Jessica Underwood; age 24; chef; Waterloo, New York.
Jessica's assessment This story of eroding identity, faith, and relationships is not for the fainthearted, but it's beautiful all the same. After her partner of 25 years abandons her, 52-year-old Mercia decides to move from Scotland back to her native South Africa, where she is tasked with raising her alcoholic brother's five-year-old son. From there the narrative flashes back to Mercia's childhood and her past relationship, unveiling eerie differences between her happy memories and the grim realities that she actually faced. The jumps in time are often abrupt and difficult to follow, but the confusion works, as it's evocative of Mercia's mental distress.
To buy: $18, amazon.com.