Accusation

Catherine Bush. Goose Lane Editions (UTP, North American dist.), $32.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-86492-900-6
Bush (Claire's Head) centers her fourth novel on Raymond Renaud, whose Cirkus Mirak takes the abandoned children of Ethiopia and provides them with jobs capering skillfully for Westerners. When some of the performers beg for asylum, alleging mistreatment ranging from dangerous working conditions to sexual exploitation, impresario Raymond flees into hiding. once a victim of baseless calumnies herself, journalist Sara Wheeler is one of the few who considers the possibility that Raymond, who she knows, might be innocent. Determined to find the truth, she sets out to discover whether he is the monster he is accused of being or simply an innocent victim. Her quest will take her from North America to Africa, but whether she will find her unambiguous truths is less clear. The author's disinclination to embrace standard punctuation puts an avoidable barrier between reader and text, and the reward for overcoming this affectation is a tale more tedious than truly ambivalent. It appears to be intended as a depiction of one lone reporter daring to embrace a contrarian interpretation of the facts, but as cases from Steubenville to Penn State show, the default in cases like this is to blame the victims and not the accused. Bush's novel proves more obstructive than illuminating. Agent: Samantha Haywood, Transatlantic Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/13/2014
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-86492-780-4
Paperback - 376 pages - 978-0-86492-850-4
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