“Death is a natural occurrence, murder is not.” (p.362)
Allen and Unwin
Description Alice Metcalf was a devoted mother, loving wife and accomplished scientist who studied grief among elephants. Yet it’s been a decade since she disappeared under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind her small daughter, husband, and the animals to which she devoted her life. All signs point to abandonment – or worse.
Still Jenna – now thirteen years old and truly orphaned by a father maddened by grief – steadfastly refuses to believe in her mother’s desertion. So she decides to approach the two people who might still be able to help her find Alice: a disgraced psychic named Serenity Jones, and Virgil Stanhope, the cynical detective who first investigated her mother’s disappearance and the strange, possibly linked death of one of her mother’s co-workers.
Together these three lonely souls will discover truths destined to forever change their lives. Deeply moving and suspenseful, Jodi Picoult’s 21st novel is a radiant exploration of the enduring love between mothers and daughters
Leaving Time is one of the most amazing books I have read in a long time. This is a book that defies you to limit it to one specific genre – it is a murder/mystery, it is a romance, it has a psychic, it is a contemporary work of fiction, it is a social commentary, it is a study on elephants and of loss and grief… This book has many themes; about relationships, particularly relationships between mother and child whether they be human or elephant, about loss, grieving, death and memory and forgiving but not forgetting. This can be a casual comfortable read as you sit by the pool, or the in the airport lounge or on the train, it can also be something more serious; words that prick your conscience, words that make your heart quake and words that will make you smile.
The setting in the books come alive in front of you – elephant sanctuaries –both in Africa and in Tennessee USA, police stations, seedy neighbourhoods, a haunted derelict house…words paint realistic pictures. And the dialogue – contemporary, natural and flows so well, the humour will make you ‘eye roll’. Here is just one hilariously example where we get Jenna’s perspective (thirteen years old) of Virgil/Victor trying to talk a lab technician/colleague in to assisting them (p127), Jenna- “I’ve been sitting on an examination table observing the mating behaviour of the Fundamentally Alcoholic, Washed Up Male and the Oversexed, Overblown Cougar.
Here are my scientific field notes:
The Male is uneasy, caged. He sits and taps his foot incessantly, then gets up and paces. He has put a little effort into grooming today, in anticipation of seeing the Cougar, who enters the room.
She wears a white laboratory coat and too much makeup. She smells like the perfume inserts in magazines that are so overwhelming you are tempted to lob the whole issue across the room, even If it means you will never finds out the Ten Things Guys Want in Bed or What Makes Jennifer Lawrence Mad! She is a blond with dark roots, and someone needs to tell her that pencil skirts are not doing her ass any favours.
The Male makes the first move. He uses dimples as a weapon. He says Wow Lulu long time no see.
The Cougar rebuffs his advances…” It just gets funnier.
Panoramic settings, realistic dialogue, engaging characters, humour, elephants, love, death, murder and mystery, all these elements make this a momentous read – and did I mention the twist in the tail? Guaranteed to surprise.
That’s my view, what’s yours?
Read extract here: