Repeat It Today with Tears

Anne Peile. Serpent's Tail, $14.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1846687471
Peile's debut novel (long-listed for the U.K.'s Orange Prize) focuses on a love story between an unwitting man and his precocious seventeen-year-old daughter. Despite beautiful prose, the novel's underdeveloped characters prevent Peile from delivering on this daring premise. Susanna ("Susie") grows up in South London without her father, and becomes increasingly obsessed with the man in question—John (Jack) ap Rhys Owen. When they meet by a chance encounter, Susie changes from a relatable, yearning girl to a manipulative, misguided young woman. She seduces the married Jack and lies to protect her identity from him, and his identity from her mean-spirited, neglectful mother. Told from Susie's immature and irresponsible perspective, what begins with a promising forbidden kiss ends in a lethal and misplaced sexual awakening. Readers will find it difficult to invest in these characters, particularly the idealized "father-lover"—a selfless man who gives Susie a fair chance to walk away—and the villainous mother, who (unlike Jack) remains nameless and is never described, seeming to exist only to deliver acidic insults about Jack. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-84668-746-4
Open Ebook - 234 pages - 978-1-84765-243-0
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