A stark and gripping debut novel that weaves together childhood grief, coming of age and sexual expression in a family and space that is hyperreligious and uncommunicative. Jas blames herself for her brother’s death after a perverse bargain she made with God on the morning of his accident. Unflinching, yet brilliant.
The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld
I asked God if he please couldn’t take my brother Matthies instead of my rabbit. ‘Amen.’
Ten-year-old Jas has a unique way of experiencing her universe: the feeling of udder ointment on her skin as protection against harsh winters; the texture of green warts, like capers, on migrating toads; the sound of ‘blush words’ that aren’t in the Bible. But when a tragic accident ruptures the family, her curiosity warps into a vortex of increasingly disturbing fantasies – unlocking a darkness that threatens to derail them all.