I stupidly managed to delete my review of Caroline Smailes' Black Boxes, which came out in paperback last week. With some jiggery pokery I have found the original review and am re-blogging it. I have no idea how to do posts in the past, tiptoe back to February 9, so here it is again, a week late:
Caroline's blog is often a haven of fairies and cakes and lovely things. It feels safe. Her novels are very different - dark, unflinching, disturbing, though there is an almost out-of-reach lightness that makes you want to keep reading. And her startling use of language.
Black Boxes is one of the best fictional accounts of a woman unravelling I have read. And Caroline writes children's voices in a way that is heartbreaking, but never sentimental or cloying.
I didn't do the book justice, it should be read in one sitting, in real time, the hours, the days following Ana's overdose. When I did finally finish, I thought of Ana when I went to bed. I wanted her to be okay. For me, that is when a novel really works - when you find yourself thinking about the characters, away from the pages.