Review Blog

Nov 16 2010

Careless by Deborah Robertson

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Read by Jane Nolan. First published by Pan Macmillan Australia, 2006. Unabridged audio edition, Louis Braille Audio 2006. 8CDs. ISBN 978 0 7320 32418.
Careless is not an easy book to deal with, it canvasses the whole spectrum of grief and at times the characters' despair is contagious. Children are murdered, a life partner dies and those left behind must learn to live in the world bereft of their loved ones. Eight year old Pearl's is the most tragic story; with a depressive and needy mother, Pearl has had to assume responsibility for her younger brother Riley. She is the sole survivor when a car is driven through their playgroup and her journey back to being able to contemplate a future where bad things don't happen is a long one. Her story and those of others experiencing loss come together through a proposed memorial. Ultimately the hurt characters start to slowly heal and the scars of their experience are more enduring memorials to the dead than any sculpture.
The structure of the novel, shifting between multiple narratives, means the listener can 'lose the thread' and the precise, short sentences mean the reading has a staccato feel to it. However the Australian voice and observations of the minutiae of interactions work together to create an authentic view of how we all care, or are careless of one another in difficult times. Anyone who has experienced loss will find this story quite moving.
Sue Speck

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