ZHANG, Amy Falling Into Place HarperCollins, 2014 NZ$19.99 pbk ISBN 9780062367884 SCIS 1677337
This non-linear novel is written about a young college girl who plans a suicide that ends with the central protagonist in hospital. Accomplished use of narrative structure moves the story back and forwards around the crucial event and lightens the otherwise obsessive focus on Liz Emerson. A mystery narrator is never entirely revealed – hypothetically Liz’s alter-ego – who wants her to live. This gives an intriguing edge to the perspective. Her friends learn to face up to their superficialities and let down their emotional guard sufficiently to gather and support her recovery in hospital. Nicely organised around principles of Newtonian physics – most especially the three laws of motion. A clever and affirming implication from Zhang that sometimes plans that presume the laws of motion (a fatal skid off the icy road into a tree will result in death) can go astray. Young teenagers can feel confidence in the contemporary story-telling voice here.
reviewed by Anna Smith