One tragic event connects four lives in this haunting story of loss, love and renewal. Burned is the winner of the National Seniors Literary Prize 2013.
Noah Daniels is an innocent young boy who treasures the telescope his father bought him and who daydreams of one day travelling through space …
His mother Kate nurses bittersweet memories of her marriage to Richard and deeply regrets moving the family from Sydney to England …
Malcolm Martin is still paralysed with grief twenty years after the death of his son. Home for him now is a park bench by the canal …
And then there’s Matthew Hooper – a classmate of Noah’s – who has come to suspect his older brother, Tom, has a dangerous obsession with fire…
Four people, from opposites sides of the world, are about to be brought together by one horrifying event that will burn them forever.
This novel provides an interesting and thought provoking discussion on a number of issues – including a major contemporary issue, bullying. Bullying and the effect this has on all those involved, be it that the one doing the bullying, the bullied, those in the immediate vicinity (family, friends, colleagues) and those on the periphery; communities as a whole including school teachers, police officers etc. It is a big issue with huge ramifications for all those scorched by this touch and this book admirably demonstrates the extent of the influence one person can make to the lives of so many.
This is a story that delves into many issues; death is paid particularly attention; death of a child, death of a parent, and death of a love affair, death of a relationship. Death impacts on those in the immediate vicinity and those in the surrounding in many and varied ways. Some cope and move forward, for some lives are negatively impacted and forever changed.
But this is not an altogether negative book; it is a book of hope (for some but not all) and ultimately a book of new beginnings. I particularly enjoyed the sections of the book that dealt with Kate and her affinity with the ocean. They are some beautifully evocative descriptions of the ease she felt with and the restorative nature of the ocean.