Sunday, 15 September 2019
Review of Chidren of Sinai by Shelley Clarke
What I really enjoyed about this novel was its epic scope, in terms of the character arcs, the geography and the themes. Jen and John and their twin daughters Hannah and Holly suffer a bereavement. The discovery of a secret cache of photos and documents opens up a whole new world where decisions made in the past have dramatic ramifications for the future, not just for Jen, John and their girls but for all humanity.
The uncanny is foregrounded in the twins' use of their own secret language. Thius the quotidian is gradually transformed by John's discovery of his own twin and the significance of all the seemingly ordinary aspects of his life: his best friend's bad relationship with his father; John's origins in the Middle East and the vagaries of research into immunity...
Clarke blends different timelines, biblical allegory and modern-day political tensions to create a world that would not look out of place in the latest Dan Brown blockbuster. I trust this does not displease the author. Highly visual, this seems like a story for the big screen.
I must say that the beginning of the novel, showing us Jen and John and their seemingly perfect lives and careers almost irritated me. I couldn't wait for their call to action! Boasting conspiracy storylines, hissable villains, tested loyalties and betrayals, there's plenty to get your teeth into here. I was worried that the women might be relegated to accessories here but no, they are as active as the men, thankfully. The use of dreams was genius, I thought, and the ending pleasingly bleak with a hint of redemption.
Buy Chidren of Sinai here.