Book Review: Ache by Eliza Henry-Jones
Eliza Henry-Jones is an Australian writer who burst onto the literary scene with her debut novel, In the Quiet. Her follow-up, Ache, is a touching and deeply human exploration of grief and trauma, set against the backdrop of a rural Australian community.
The novel tells the story of two families – the Wells and the Finches – who are brought together after a tragic accident. The matriarch of one family, Annie, is a nurse who is struggling to deal with her own grief, while the other family is dealing with the loss of their teenage son, Sam. When a bushfire destroys the family farm, the two families come together to rebuild their lives and find a way to move forward.
At its core, Ache is a novel about loss and healing. Henry-Jones is a masterful storyteller who does an incredible job of capturing the complexities of grief and the ways in which it can impact individuals and communities. She does an excellent job of showing how different characters deal with loss in different ways, and how it can impact their relationships with others.
The setting of the novel – a rural Australian community – is beautifully crafted and adds depth and richness to the story. Henry-Jones captures the beauty and brutality of the Australian landscape and uses it to create an immersive and compelling world for her characters.
One of the main themes of Ache is the idea of connection and the ways in which people can come together to support each other in times of need. The novel explores the different types of relationships that exist within a community – from family relationships, to friendships, to romantic relationships – and how they can be both strengthened and tested by tragedy.
Another theme of the novel is the importance of stories in helping us make sense of the world around us. Throughout the novel, different characters tell stories as a way of coping with their grief and processing what has happened. Henry-Jones does an excellent job of showing how stories can be both powerful and healing, and how they can help us connect with others and build empathy.
Henry-Jones is an incredibly talented writer, and her prose is both robust and poetic. She has a remarkable ability to capture the nuances of everyday life and the inner workings of her characters’ minds. Her writing is emotionally charged and evocative, and she manages to convey a great deal of depth and complexity in a relatively short amount of space.
One of the things that sets Henry-Jones apart as a writer is her ability to use the natural world to convey emotion and meaning. Her descriptions of the Australian landscape are breathtakingly beautiful, and she uses them to create a sense of awe and wonder that perfectly complements the emotional intensity of her writing.
Strengths & Weaknesses
One of the strengths of Ache is its ability to explore grief and trauma in a way that is both authentic and empathetic. Henry-Jones has a wonderful ability to create characters that feel real and fully formed, and she uses this skill to great effect in her exploration of loss and healing.
Another strength of the novel is its setting. The Australian landscape is vividly rendered, and it adds a great deal of depth and richness to the novel’s world-building. Henry-Jones has a wonderful eye for detail, and she uses it to create a fully immersive and convincing world.
Some readers may find the novel’s structure to be a weakness. The novel is divided into sections, each of which is narrated by a different character. While this allows for a multiplicity of perspectives, it can also be somewhat disjointed and can interrupt the flow of the story.
Comparison to Other Works
Ache is a remarkable novel that stands on its own merit, but it can also be compared to other works in its genre. It shares similarities with other novels that explore grief and trauma, such as A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. However, what sets Ache apart from these works is its uniquely Australian setting and its emphasis on connection and community.
Overall, Ache is a deeply moving and profound novel that explores grief, trauma, and the power of human connection. Henry-Jones is a masterful storyteller and her writing is both beautiful and emotionally resonant. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who is interested in exploring themes of loss, healing, and resilience.
Who is Eliza Henry-Jones?
Eliza Henry-Jones is an Australian writer and the author of In the Quiet and Ache.
What is Ache about?
Ache is a novel about loss and healing, set against the backdrop of a rural Australian community.
What are the main themes of Ache?
The main themes of Ache are loss, healing, and the power of human connection.
How does Ache compare to other works in its genre?
Ache shares similarities with other novels that explore themes of grief and trauma, such as A Little Life and The Light Between Oceans. However, what sets Ache apart is its uniquely Australian setting and its emphasis on connection and community.
Would you recommend Ache?
Yes, I would highly recommend Ache to anyone who is interested in exploring themes of loss, healing, and resilience. It is a deeply moving and beautiful novel that will stay with you long after you finish reading.