Author: Genevieve Gannon
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
From bestselling author Genevieve Gannon, a novel about what happens to a family when a privileged high school student is gravely injured
The Gifted Son tells the story of Jamie, a private school student who is gravely injured on muck up day at his prestigious high school. As the narrative progresses, his parents, his sister and his best friends are increasingly drawn in so that this becomes a tale with many voices.
Genevieve Gannon provides us with a well-structured path for following Jamie and his kin through the trauma of a young person suffering a catastrophic injury. But there’s more to this than just the experience of hospitals and surgery. Deftly woven in amongst the quotidian details is an interesting combination of themes: the afterlife, the metaphysical, and the lies people tell to protect those they love.
The Gifted Son is set in Sydney at the start of the Australian summer. The author takes us to local beaches, over the Harbour Bridge and through the lounge rooms of suburban houses as the story moves forward. And move forward it does – the pace is swift, and you’ll find yourself thinking, “just one more chapter”.
One of this novel’s greatest assets is the clearly drawn characters. There are a lot of them, but story structure and character development are well crafted, so that the many people in Jamie’s world are clearly identifiable in the dialogue. With each chapter named after a character, we are able to see the story progress through their eyes.
And just when you think that you are possibly reading a ghost story, the author cleverly lifts the curtain to show us that nothing is what it seems.
This is a rollicking good read from the author of The Mothers, perfect for long summer days when you’re not quite ready for complex concepts or tangled narratives.