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The Strength of the Sun    by Catherine Chidgey order for
Strength of the Sun
by Catherine Chidgey
Order:  USA  Can
Picador, 2005 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

A man lies seriously injured in a hospital in England. A fifteen year-old girl disappeared from her home in New Zealand years before. Another young woman in New Zealand starts a new life on her own. What slender threads could connect them all?

In The Strength of the Sun, Catherine Chidgey ties these threads with a gentle knot and serenely tells each individual's story. And she does it well. A good deal of the action takes place in New Zealand, where the author resides. But England and the injured man also take up a lot of space, heightening the interest. The plot slips from the present day to the past and back again without a break in the continuity. The author's first novel, In a Fishbone Church, was nominated for an Orange Prize. If it is as good as this one, I can understand why. I intend to find a copy and have another very enjoyable read.

Chidgey tells a compelling story without embroidering it with unnecessary rhetoric. She chooses her words carefully and uses them with finesse and grace. A rare talent.

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