Tag Archives | Kishwar Desai

An attempt at a crowdsourced review of Witness the Night..

I appreciate that normally this blog is a monthly collection of book suggestions, but once in a while I get sent books to hand out at meetings and plug on the website. I’m fairly choosy on what to reply to and generally stick to books which look interesting, are from a publisher, and don’t look too weird*.

Since I’ve now got a backlog of books to review I thought I’d get the ball rolling. What I’m hoping is that everyone else who got a copy of the book will pitch in and add their review to the end of this one, or I might look a bit silly after replying to those emails with ‘of course we’ll review your book’.

The book this time was Witness the Night by Kishwar Desai, which won the 2010 Costa first novel award. It deals with the grim topic of female infanticide, but told in the style of a mystery novel. The plot revolves around the discovery of a catatonic teenager surrounded by her murdered family, and the attempts of a social worker to get to the truth, despite the best efforts of the local patriarchs.

The book rattles along at a fair pace, and is quite an easy read. Some bits did creak a bit. Several of the characters were interchangeable and blurred into each other, and the awful use of interrupted email as a plot device with TXT speak was really irritating. It is however quite thought provoking.

I liked the character of the hard-drinking fast-talking social worker, (although I was half-expecting/wanting her to turn ‘dirty-harry’ on us and waste the bad guys) and it managed to tackle a really quite horrific subject in an an engaging way. I confess it was a something I didn’t know a lot about – there has been some coverage recently in the BBC so perhaps this book will go some way towards getting the issue the attention it deserves.

You can buy Witness the Night on Amazon or direct from Beautiful Books.

There goes my attempt – please add your own in the comments and I’ll update the blog post. There are also a few discussion ideas for book groups which might be worth having a look at. I’m afraid I can’t remember who I gave  copies to (there was beer involved) but you know who you are.

*actually I quite like weird. Particularly graphic novels, but not sure how those would go down with everyone else.


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