By Kerry Hudson
With this, her second novel, Kerry Hudson has delivered a hard-hitting tale of love, power, abuse and the ultimate hope of redemption.
Thirst is the story of Alena, who thought she was heading to London from Siberia for a better life, and Dave, who has made mistakes – a lot of mistakes – but still deserves a second chance.
From their first meeting until the unbearably poignant encounter that closes the book, their relationship goes through every possible permutation from stranger to friend to lover, and very nearly back again, but will their union ultimately hold the hope for redemption?
The book tackles some very difficult themes head on: people trafficking, rape, violence, guilt and shame. But throughout the story, light is allowed to shine in the darkness. The light of love, of friendship and of determination for a better life, provides the elements that prevent such a difficult subject from being depressing.
There are some great scenes in this novel: Alena and Dave’s first meeting over a corned beef sandwich; the etiquette difficulties surrounding a train journey to Siberia and Dave’s less than salubrious arrival at the Hostel Sputnik. These moments are dealt with with great humour, and highlight the fact that although Alena and Dave have both done some bad things, they are good people, likeable people.
Another remarkable thing about this book is the way that the beauty of the language employed in the writing contrasts with the brutality of some of the events related. It is this contrast that demonstrates the skill of the author and lifts this novel out of the ordinary.
This book will move you. It will make you angry and it will make you cry. But above all it will make you think.
You have to read it!
Thanks very much to the publishers for a review copy of this book.
You can find out more here.