The Other Me
I’d never heard of this author before, but Heysham library had a large delivery of new books, including this one. I picked it up on a whim, but was greatly impressed.
The basic synopsis on the back of the book, which grabbed my attention is that Eliza Bennet has the life that she’s always dreamed of. She’s who she wants to be, and she’s with the man that she loves. But Eliza is living a lie. Her real name is Klaudia Myer. And Klaudia is on the run. She’s escaping her old life, and a terrible secret buried at the heart of the family. This is the story of Eliza and Klaudia.
The plot divides between Klaudia, her father and her uncle, each of them written in 1st person, and distinct, a feat that is very difficult to achieve. Sarginson also has different time periods, as she visits 1996, the pre war years in Germany, and also visits the second world war in terms of flashbacks.
Klaudia/Eliza is a character that I found easy to like, I felt great sympathy for her especially during the flashbacks to her primary school days.
Her father was a little harder to empathise with, after seeing him through her eyes for a chunk of the book, but the detailed descriptions of the activities of German soldiers during the second world war, and his reactions to certain things that he had to do, humanise him a good deal.
Sarginson takes a risk and uses the ending to start the book, as the Prologue details Klaudia, (unnamed) at that point, talking about the possibility of having to kill someone. I didn’t work out the mystery until the tail end of the book, caught up with the characterization, but found that I will be very interested to read anything that Sarginson publishes.