Review: The Drowning of Arthur Braxton

The Drowning of Arthur Braxton
The Drowning of Arthur Braxton by Caroline Smailes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Never judge a book by its cover, or so they say. With this book I did. Picked it up at the local library as I was intrigued by the faceless figure on the front and the title. An impulse selection. Wasn’t really sure what to expect at all. I almost gave up after the first chapter or so, not feeling totally easy with the subject matter and the language, but I’m glad I didn’t, as it gradually developed into a dark but satisfying modern fairy tale. Set in an old Edwardian bathhouse, The Oracle, it tells the tale of Laurel and Arthur, two teenagers subjected to hard, abusive childhoods with little pleasure and light in them. The Oracle is said to contain healing waters, but do they find peace and release here? Written in first person, switching from character to character, this novel explores the turmoil of growing up, dysfunctional relationships and family life. Much more I can’t say without straying into spoilers, except to say I agree with the quote on the back cover; it is ‘strange, beautiful and wholly unexpected’.

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One thought on “Review: The Drowning of Arthur Braxton

  1. I wasn’t that keen on the cover, but intrigued by the blurb and absolutely loved this book, such a refreshing voice and a compelling read, I’m still not quite sure what it was leading me along and capturing my attention with such compulsion. Will definitely be reading more of Caroline Smailes. As I reviewed it this weekend I was intrigued to discover there is an Open Heritage Weekend and they’ve filled the pool at Victoria Baths and there is a synchronized swimming display, not quite Delphina style, but I had to smile at the coincidence.

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