The Gift of Looking Closely
by Al Brookes
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Claire believes she was manipulated, when she was sixteen, into helping her mother commit suicide. Now in her late twenties, she negotiates a complex reality. ‘I have strange thoughts; I see things I shouldn’t; my feelings bend me double.’
She uses her dead mother’s letters as a kind of oracle, her father’s dictionary to help her make sense of things – and goes on a shoplifting spree when things become unbearable. But when she gets caught and sentenced to community service visiting the charismatic, bedridden Evie, Claire’s carefully constructed boundaries begin to shift. And as she unpicks the secrets that haunt Evie’s extraordinary old house, Claire gets closer to the truth about her own life and how the past trespasses on the present.