Sarah Dunant is the author of 6 crime novelsfor which she won two Silver Daggers. She presented THE LATE SHOW for many years, edited WAR OF THE WORDS (Virago 1994) & co-edited AGE OF ANXIETY (Virago 1996). TRANGRESSIONS was the subject of major acclaim.
What happened to Anna Franklin? That's the question posed in Dunant's latest novel, detailing five days in the life of those close to an English journalist who heads off on a short holiday and doesn't return when she is expected. Waiting anxiously at home are Anna's six-year-old daughter, Lily; Lily's part-time surrogate father, Paul; and Estella, Anna's best friend and Lily's godmother, who has flown in from Amsterdam. Caught in a whirlwind of uncertainty, Anna's makeshift family lives from moment to moment, waiting for the phone to ring, the door to openDhoping beyond hope for a simple explanation of Anna's absence. Two parallel "what if" stories run the course of the novel, tangling the reader in a web of suspense and confusion. Is Anna depressed by Lily's growing independence and feeling a need to reconnect with the woman she used to be before she became a mother? Or is she the victim of a tragic obsession gone awry, kidnapped by a psychopath with no feelings of remorse? While either story could accurately explain Anna's disappearance, each version shows a different side of the missing woman and the motivations behind her sudden trip. The suspense is good enough to keep the pages turning and the secondary characters' reactions lend credibility to the plot line; however, the ambiguous conclusion reads more like a cop-out than a subtle send-off. Most interesting is the convincing portrayal of Anna's alternative family and their quietly unconventional 21st-century living arrangements. Though she is known as a writer of sophisticated thrillers (Transgressions; Under My Skin), Dunant here leans gracefully toward straight literary fiction. Agent, Claire Alexander at Aitken & Stone. (Feb. 23) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
'Part of what makes MAPPING THE EDGE so compulsive to read is that it functions with real confidence and assurance on several levels. Two thrillers are interwoven with the gradually accumulating tension of those left behind, arousing complementary anxieties and exploring the darkness at the heart of Dunant's characters' INDEPENDENT'Dunant's fiction is trade-marked with heroines who take chances and ignore risks. Not a whiff of political correctness; the rules they make or break are all their own. The subtext of the novel - how loyalties are strained, how relationships change - is every bit as important as the surface excitements. Dextrously done' LITERARY REVIEW'This is a tantalising novel, the fictional equivalent to one of those Ayckbourn or Pirandello plays in which different "realities" run parallel to each other it is always interesting and sometimes remarkable in its stealthy creation of an atmosphere of unease, terror and mystery' SPECTATOR'It is easy to see why Dunant chose the strategy of duelling stories - the missing, by their nature, invite multiple explanations. And she pulls off this difficult narrative trick with considerable technical skill, aided by a clean prose style and a deft hand for characterisation' SUNDAY TIMES'Its structure dovetails prfectly, making maximum use of all available ambiguities this is more than competent psychological thri
In this sixth novel by Golden Dagger nominee Dunant (Fatlands), Anna Franklin, a London journalist and single mother, flies to Florence for a brief vacation and fails to return as scheduled. Dunant then tells three stories, one of which takes place at Anna's home in London and two that present alternate explanations for her disappearance. Both of Anna's rather improbable adventures involve mysterious men, one a secret lover and the other a psychopath. Switching back and forth between the two tales dissipates much of the tension that either plot line might have otherwise sustained. Anna is strangely acquiescent, creating a creepy sense that she is, in part, a collaborator in her own victimization. The most compelling chapters are those narrated by Anna's friend Estella, a witty, commitment-phobic corporate attorney who flies in from Amsterdam to care for Anna's six-year-old daughter, Lily. Recommended only for public libraries collecting heavily in suspense fiction. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/00.]ÄJane la Plante, Minot State Univ. Lib., ND Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.