HALSE ANDERSON, Laurie The Impossible Knife of Memory Text Pub, 2014 A$19.99 NZ$26.00 pbk +e ISBN 9781922182227 SCIS 1641865
Hayley Kincain is in her last year of high school and is struggling to stay afloat, though she won’t admit it. After years of being on the road and home schooled by her truck driving father, he decides that Hayley needs some stability, so they move into her grandmother’s former house, where Hayley spent her early childhood. Hayley is balancing on a knife edge, refusing to remember the past, struggling to keep her veteran father safe from himself, and trying to negotiate the unfamiliar rules and social structures of high school.
This is a wonderful book, cleverly and sympathetically written. Hayley is at first a prickly character who is hard to like, though with greater understanding comes greater compassion. The story is well structured, small reveals and hints at a past which Hayley has blocked out. Gradually things become clearer, both to the reader and to Hayley. Things seen through the eyes of a child almost always have a different meaning from an adult perspective. Highly recommended for upper secondary students and public libraries, a must read.
reviewed by Rebecca Kemble