As mentioned in my last post, this year I’ve signed up for the Australian Women’s Writer’s Challenge, with the aim of reading and reviewing 6 books this year.
The first of those books was Amanda Hickie’s AfterZoe. I came across AfterZoe in Wild Colonial Girl‘s Friday Night Fiction – November Newsletter, when my own ebook A Faery Dream was included (Thanks again Kirsten!) :).
AfterZoe is brilliant in it’s imaginings of life after death and the realities of Heaven. We are told that Heaven is a place of joy and peace, where we are reunited with our loved ones after death. But what happens to those who’ve had more than one lover/spouse in their lifetimes? When the first dies and you take another, what happens when you all meet up in Heaven – how peaceful and loving with those relationships really be?
This is the problem that has already been solved in AfterZoe, as the angels have introduced a drink that encourages the forgetting of your life on earth – all loved ones, and all memories are wiped, and instead everyone lives a content life, unaware there is something missing. The new problem, is that not everyone wants to forget. Zoe is one of those who wants to remember her loved ones from life, as she searches out a love who died too young, and then finds her husband has died, and is one of those new arrivals in heaven on the verge of forgetting.
AfterZoe skillfully deals with the question of identity – what makes us who we are. And as the story progressed I found myself drawn into the possibilities of what could happen, after.
The ending is a perfect conclusion, and though I almost wished for another, I know it would not have been as satisfactory as the one the author wrote.
I was absorbed by this story from beginning to end. Hickie’s writing style is so easy to read, and so very Australian. I highly recommend this debut novel, and look forward to reading more from this author!