The story of Zenia ought to begin when Zenia began. It must have been someplace long ago and distance in space, thinks Tony; someplace bruised, and ...Show synopsisThe story of Zenia ought to begin when Zenia began. It must have been someplace long ago and distance in space, thinks Tony; someplace bruised, and very tangled. A European print, hand-tinted, ochre-coloured, with dusty sunlight and a lot of bushes in it - bushes with thick leaves and ancient twisted roots, behind which, out of sight in the undergrowth and hinted at only by a boot protruding, or a slack hand, something ordinary but horrifying is taking place. Zenia is beautiful, smart and greedy, by turns manipulative and vulnerable, needy and ruthless. She is also dead. Just to make absolutely sure Tony, Roz and Charis are there for the funeral. But five years on, as the three women share a decorous lunch, the unthinkable happens: 'with waves of ill will flowing out of her like cosmic radiation', Zenia is backHide synopsis
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What a juicy read this was! I certainly was not expecting a mystery with a clearly defined villain when I picked up "The Robber Bride," but that's what the novel turned out to be. The story begins with three women whose lives have been irrevocably altered by a woman who seems to haunt them like a spectre. I wasn't very far into the book before I was desperate to find out exactly WHAT this woman had done.
Zenia, the villainess who steals men (among other things) and ruins lives, embodies the fear that trust is too easily misplaced, and that some people just want to hurt people for the thrill of it. I'm not sure how realistic she is as a character, but I think that's beside the point. Roz, Tony, and Charis, the three protagonists of the book, are as real as they come, and are utterly recognizable as three variations on the everywoman.
I will say that some patience is required in reading this novel, as the narrative tends to jump back and restart itself for each woman's own story of Zenia. I went along with it, but occasionally found myself wishing that the overarching narrative thread were stronger throughout the different parts of the book.
After reading "The Blind Assassin" by Margaret Atwood, I was excited to read more of her stories. This one, however, just didn't excite me like "TBA." For me, it took too long to get to the actual storyline, and I find that to be pretty important in books.
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