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by Paula Lichtarowicz

5 stars

It was quite a while before I began to enjoy this. The style is peculiar. It was hard work. For the first several chapters, I had absolutely no idea what was going on (and not sure if I cared very much, either). But then, just as I was wondering if anything was ever going to happen (or indeed, make any sense at all), the fog began to lift, the story began to emerge, the horror of the situation showed its petticoats and suddenly, I was absolutely riveted to the tale of poor, damaged Calamity Leek and her ‘sisters’, who live monastic lives, cloistered behind the high walls of a garden they are forbidden to leave. All their lives, they have lived in strict accord with the rules of their bizarre religion. Until the day that Trudy Polperro dared to peek over the wall…

The story is weird and the characters, positively bizarre – like Aunty, the girl’s apparent guardian: a failed theatrical wannabee, straight out of Julian Clary’s Devil in Disguise. And the even weirder Mother, in her wheelchair and sunglasses, a grotesque straight out of Psychoville.

Extreme, bizarre, surreal and riveting. Very strange and very, very good.