A review of She’s Not There by Joy Fielding

Reviewed by Carl Delprat

She’s Not There
by Joy Fielding
Bonnier (Zaffre)
ISBN: 9781785762758, Jan 2018, 368 page, paperback, AUD$19.99

I know we are always on the lookout for a good story, the kind that grasps your attention from the very beginning and delivers right up to the very last page. I also know there are a lot of struggling and aspiring writers out there who would love to know the formula for that best seller. I have just finished reading what all of you happen to want. When it comes to knocking together an excellent story that’s destined to be a big hit, Joy Fielding is right up there in the winner’s circle.

I get to review a lot of books; and most of them are good to very good. She’s Not There is in a special class and a textbook example of how to construct an excellent novel. It contains all the crucial elements needed to produce a quality fiction novel. As a fellow writer, I can fully appreciate Joy Fielding’s skilful technique and that’s one of the many reasons why I am so impressed with her format and creative alignment.

Apart from a few minor composition arrangements in Chapter 1, Joy keeps her characters down to an easily recognisable type, where each one is credible and interesting. We are well informed about the oncoming future and its connection with the past fifteen years by delivering it’s criteria via a method of alternating chapters. The ‘odd’ chapters are the present and the ‘even’ follow in a sequence of diminishing years, so eventually this perspective delivers both trajectories to the current-day. A tension is inserted within both parallel stories, first starting with a totally unexpected telephone call occurring in the present and again with a tantrum-oriented child misbehaving during a motoring trip.

Joy Fielding skilfully tightens these strings throughout her novel and they direct the reader to keep reading. This is a professional writer at her best and she is so good at her craft. Joy Fielding slips in many clever additions through her odds and evens chapters that skilfully gel everything together. She also maintains tautness within the dialogue that infects the reader’s curiosity and stays there all the way to an amazing and unexpected conclusion.

I’m not going to give anyone a glimpse into this superb story, no way! That would be like letting you have a quick taste of a great meal before it’s ready to be served. Reader, this is a five-star piece of excellent workmanship that deserves your total attention. I can assure you… you won’t be disappointed.

About the reviewer: Carl Delprat is a prolific storyteller. His home is the Australian coastal city of Newcastle, New South Wales. Find his books at: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CarlDelprat

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