Her voice trails off, her eyes losing focus as the bus slows down. A large spiky roof with gold spires comes into view, a mountain shrouded in trees behind it. As the bus draws closer, the whole temple appears before us, curved and ornate with tiered icing-sugar walls and arched windows fringed with gold. Two painted tiger statues adorn its entrance, looking ready to pounce on the frantic relatives and tired- looking officials hurrying around the busy area in front of it. This must be where the foreign embassies are: white canopies, rows and rows of photo boards, lines of desks weighed down with paperwork and flags.
I try to find the Union Jack among all the other flags, as if it might blur the strangeness of this place a little. But all I can see is a tiny beige monkey that is weaving in and out of the table legs. I make a mental note to tell the girls about it. They’ll want to know things like that when I get back. They don’t need to know about the bodies I’ve seen floating in the sea, nor the turned-over cars.by
When Louise Fenton flies to Thailand to find her mother, Nora, after the Boxing Day tsunami, she fears the worst when the only trace she can find is her mother’s distinctive bag. In the bag is a beautifully crafted atlas owned by travel journalist Claire Shreve, with her notes and mementos slipped in-between the pages. The journal tells the story of Claire’s struggle to find her place in the world following a life-altering revelation, and a tumultuous love affair.
Louise treks across Thailand’s scarred landscape, exploring Claire’s atlas to try to make sense of the connection between this woman and the mother she is so desperate to find.
As devastated people are beginning to put their lives back together, Louise uncovers the secrets that nearly destroyed Claire and the man she loved – the same secrets her mother has been guarding all these years …
This book has such a beautiful cover but from the blurb, I was intrigued to find out how the author was going to tackle the subject matter (the story is set around the tsunami that happened in 2004.)
Told from the point of view of two seemingly unconnected women, Louise and Claire, the story immediately drew me in. It does jump around between the two storylines but this helped build up the mystery and suspense – that urge to keep turning the page as I wanted to know what would happen. I particularly resonated with certain aspects of Claire’s life.by