What Remains Unsaid by Audrey Kalman
Vianvi Podcast Book Review 2018 #2 by Viga Boland
If you’re into psychological thrillers, the opening chapter of What Remains Unsaid by Audrey Kalman will immediately grab you. But a word of caution here: this book is a work of literary fiction, meaning it’s character, not plot driven, and it’s definitely not a thriller.
With that established, rest assured that What Remains Unsaid will take you right inside people’s heads, far deeper than any ordinary work of fiction will, and it might just leave you reeling in this story that looks at mental illness, which, as the author tells us at the end of the book was experienced by one in five persons in the US during 2014.
Ginny, one of several narrators in this book, suddenly finds herself, tied to a kitchen chair and facing a gun held by her adult son, Sean Masterson. Sean demands that for once, she listen to him, insinuating she hasn’t done so throughout his life. From here on, readers are invited inside Ginny’s head as she slips into her distant past and gives us some insight into what has led to this emotion-filled scene with Sean.
As Ginny remembers and narrates, she introduces us to those who had the greatest influence and impact on who she is now: her childhood and long-time friend, Nora; her first love, Keith; her wealthy ex-husband and Sean’s father, Howard, now deceased; and Eva, Sean’s wife. Nora, Eva and Keith each take their turn at narrator so we get the story of Ginny and Sean from several sides. And when all have finished sharing their stories, though Sean and the readers know more, there is still the pervading sense that What Remains Unsaid will never be known. For who can see everything inside each of us?
What Remains Unsaid isn’t an easy read. It’s complicated with its tense switching and flashbacks. And since most of the story takes place inside several narrators’ heads, meaning there’s very little dialogue, the book requires concentration. But What Remains Unsaid is a masterfully written by Audrey Kalman and definitely worthy of your concentration. Will you see the ending coming before it does? Challenge yourself.
©Viga Boland, December 2017
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