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Cygnet by Season Butler

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PUBLISHED BY Hachette UK

REVIEW BY HAYLEY ROHEAD

This book is an incredible debut novel about loneliness, love, and hope. A seventeen-year-old comes of age on an island retirement community following the death of her grandmother. Eagerly awaiting the return of her parents to rescue her from a place she’s not wholly welcome, she battles severe depression and reminisces about her life before the island. Forming some beautiful friendships with a few of the islands residents who are happy enough to have here there, or too unwell to notice that she doesn’t belong, these relationships get her through and keep her going. Working and contributing to the islands supply chain to support herself as best she can she butts heads with an aggressive neighbour. Mostly she just waits, waits for her phone to ring, for it to be them calling her, for them the show up ready to take her home. She desperately wants her parents to come back. Her time on the island is written in a way that could be tied to the erosion of her home there, her only safe place being eaten away. 

Written in a first person narrative of conscious thoughts, the words are rather haunting. Then ending came up too fast in comparison to the body of the story’s slow moving time line. But I suspect that’s the point, her pain is drawn out and long, and suddenly she makes a decision and the novel wraps up quickly. The book highlights on the differences between young and old using a truly original voice. 

Note: Book references trigger topics.