Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Sins of the Fathers

The beginning was the end

This is my favourite review of my book yet. Hannelore has obviously enjoyed reading it which was great but just as importantly she really 'got' the ending. One of the main things I wanted to explore while writing and researching this book was why people do the terrible things they do. Not just in my story but in life in general. The crimes in 'On A Small Island' are admittedly gruesome and required serious justification if they were not to be exploitative.

The inspiration

One of the main reasons I wound up setting the book in Iceland was that I found I could write a sympathetic 'bad guy' more easily here. There's a humanity about the people in Iceland that is extremely difficult to find elsewhere. Like all the best things in this country, it's not something you can hold in your hands or buy in a shop, it's all behind your eyes and between your ears.
A documentary, Syndir feðranna (The Sins of the Fathers) proved to be a major turning point in the creation of the book. The international release title was, 'The Edge of the World'.

Click on the 'View Trailer' link to get a feel for the documentary.

I've seen many documentaries about child abuse but this one touched me the deepest. The dignity with which it was handled was amazing. It skilfully avoided melodrama and yet was still enormously upsetting. The story of these young lives destroyed by the ignorance of the Icelandic authorities and the cruelty of those handed the job of 'retraining' them for society was one that will stay with me forever. Most of the 'crimes' committed by the young boys that led to them being sent to Breiðavík were extremely minor and the damage done to them permanent.

The Review

Dec 01, 2014 Hannelore Cheney rated it 5 of 5 stars            
Once I started reading Grant Nicol's On a Small Island, I could not stop. A well-written, claustrophobic (in a good way), and very tense read with a terrible crime. However, I ended up feeling sadness for the 'bad' guys and the ending was quite poignant, with redemption and hope. A thrilling read...highly recommended. 
Amazon US:
Amazon AU:

No comments:

Post a Comment