Dark Chapter by Winnie M Li ** Blog Tour Review**

I am delighted to be taking part in the celebrations for Dark Chapter by Winnie M Li, which is the winner of the Not the Booker Prize 2017. 

Vivian is a cosmopolitan Taiwanese
American tourist who often escapes her busy life in London through adventure and travel. Johnny is a 15-year-old Irish teenager, living a neglected life on the margins of society.

On a bright spring afternoon in West Belfast, their paths collide during a horrifying act of violence. In the aftermath, each is forced to confront the chain of events that led to the attack. Inspired by true events, this is a story of the dark chapters and chance encounters that can irrevocably determine the shape of our lives.


My Thoughts

It has been a long time since I have read such an arresting novel. It is raw, visceral and yet poignant. Told through the dual perspectives of Vivian, the victim and John, her attacker, you feel that it is getting inside their minds, giving their thoughts in real time. Winnie M Li his able to convey the shock and confusion which both feel at different times.

    Most interesting is how the author is able to show how both characters have been shaped by their backgrounds and life events. I thought that the beginning of the novel was particularly strong and really set the tone of the book. It is not an easy read and there is a lot of police and legal procedure outlined but again, the thoughts of both the characters are key as we see how they feel as they live through it.

    The passage of time is dealt with in an interesting way. There are sections of the book where it feels almost as if time is standing still and then others where it speeds up and you realise that years have passed. This is a bit like how you experience time itself  and adds to the realism of the story. The product of an incident in the author's life, I feel that Vivian's experiences have an authenticity to them which cannot be faked. Sometimes shocking but always sincere, Dark Chapter is an emotional read which has a lot to say about how women are regarded and how different sections of society co-exist, at times without mutual understanding. A moment in time changes Vivian forever whilst John appears incapable of comprehending what he has done.

In short: A searingly honest novel.
 
About the Author
 
Winnie M Li is a writer and producer. A Harvard graduate, she has written for travel guide books, produced independent feature films, programmed for film festivals and developed eco-tourism projects. After graduating with Distinction in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, she now writes across a range of media (including the Huffington Post), runs arts festivals and is a PhD researcher at LSE. Winnie lives in London, yet is somewhat addicted to travel. 

You can follow Winnie here: Twitter 

Thanks to Imogen Harris at Legend Press and Winnie M Li, for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour.

Follow the rest of the tour!

 

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