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The Secret Cure


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Sue Woolfe attracted many fans with her award-winning novel Leaning Towards Infinity. Her latest book should engage many more. In it, the world of science, represented by a scientific laboratory in a fictitious Australian city, serves as a foil for Woolfe’s deliberations on life and love. The story focuses on the career of Eva, mainly as seen through the eyes of Owen, the mute hospital handyman whose life revolves around his secret love for her. Within their story lies a wider theme, the history of the treatment of autistic children. Despite the weighty subjects and anxiety-ridden characters, this book is filled with humour. Woolfe has a finely tuned sense of the ridiculous and she can imbue ordinary life with sudden magic. The pace of the book is slow, and Woolfe delights in digressions, so it will not suit readers who are easily distracted. Some will also take issue with the science in the book, particularly her fanciful representation of a scientific laboratory, and her understanding of autism as primarily a genetic disorder. Nevertheless, this is a special and original book, which will reward the reader with its insight, compassion and humour. Katrina Ford is a bookseller and freelance writer. C. 2003 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

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