Review Blog

Aug 06 2019

Dolores by Lauren Aimee Curtis

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Hachette, 2019. ISBN: 9781474611930.
(Age: 16+) Recommended. Themes: Identity, Sexuality, Convent life, Suffering. Dolores is written by an Australian author but the book has a distinctly European feel to it. It tells the story of a young girl who turns up at a convent in Spain with a lace tablecloth pinned to her head and a Bible in her hands, then faints at the gates. This is the beginning of the story, but as the nuns take her in, and she adjusts to the austere life, we gradually learn about her past and how she has come to this point.
It is a tale told with a strange detachment as though recounted from the outside - almost cinematic, as Dolores describes the scenes and where people stood and what they did. We guess at the emotions that are suppressed, of the yearning of unrequited love, and the loss of a sense of self.
Yet Dolores is a strong person - she changes from being the person who seems to drift with whatever happens to her, and finds a way to shape her own life.
It is an unusual story, the language spare but poetic, and the reader is drawn in, intrigued to find where it leads. It is not much more than a short story, a novella - Curtis has previously written short stories - but it is intense and stays in the mind long after reading. I am sure that readers of this work will be searching out more from this author.
Helen Eddy

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