Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Kinnara – a review

Goodreads Review Nov 10th 2015
Considering author, Kevin Ansbro, recently wrote a guest post (Confessions of a Writer Tag), it seems fitting that I should also post my review of his book, Kinnara, on here too:

Kinnara by Kevin Ansbro (cover)

I consider it good fortune that I followed a link on Twitter to a radio interview with the Author, Kevin Ansbro. It was a great interview, I loved his intelligence, humour and enthusiasm. I decided there and then I would read Kinnara.

From the first sentence, I was transported into the worlds of the many characters, cleverly woven and intertwined in sometimes unexpected ways. Each satisfying connection revealing something new about the characters or some aspect of life: love, friendship, sorrow, loyalty, consequence of action, fear, death or disability

In the beginning, the lives of the three main stories seem unconnected, with only hints at how they might be linked. Whether athletic and endearing English man, Callum, or his attractive childhood friend, Hannah; whether plucky Thai survivor or his antithesis, the psychotic serial killer, the characters and their surroundings are painted with equally colourful, vivid and original strokes. In only a couple of lines, the author skilfully breathes life into each and every passing characters so you care about them as ‘real’ people, briefly glimpsed as they pass in and out of the story.

Then there’s the tale of a long-forgotten mythical creature and how it impacts the lives of the modern day characters. It makes this more than a simple thriller, more than a simple love story, or a literary story of friendships, but takes the reader into the realm of magical realism (fantasy or magic that is an accepted part of the normal world). It might not have worked, but it does. It works. We believe it. And its presence makes this a unique story that not many authors could get away with.

And don’t get me started on the descriptions of the Thai island of Phuket! They say you should write about what you know. It’s obvious from the dynamic and exquisite details the author not only writes about what he knows, but what he loves. I would even go so far as to say, it’s worth reading Kinnara for this alone!

I laughed, I chuckled, I was shocked, my lips quivered, I shed a tear at various points in the story. Ansbro doesn’t tell a story as much as takes your hand and shows you it. Be warned, though, some moments pack a pretty hard punch, sometimes when you least expect it.

That’s the ‘pros’. If I were forced to give ‘cons’, I would have to name two. The first is that there are a couple of time jumps that I didn’t immediately connect with, but reading on fixes that. The second is that, toward the end of the book, I would have like a couple of ideas expanded. I wanted to see certain scenes, it was moving too fast. But I realise that might simply have been me trying to hold on to the book, and the story, longer. I didn’t want it to end.

Long and short of it – I’m not sure if I devoured the story or if the story devoured me (the imagery is still with me afterwards), but I loved it, with all its twists and turns and colourful characters and settings. I can’t wait to read more of this author’s books!