There is no revocation in Camilla Way’s novel Watching Edie

There are some journeys that unexpectedly alter parts of a person.

There is no going back.

There is no revocation.

Watching Edie, is a shocking jolt of the depravity a person can fall to and that sometimes there is no way to redemption. The novel explores a friendship from the perspective of that needy person who craves for attention and companionship from the cool, wild girl who is bursting with life. Betrayal leads to alienation. Then years pass, and the relationship starts with one of dependency. We cannot see beyond the blocked out and deeply buried secrets that these two women have squelched beneath them, threatening to explode and devastate.

This book alternates its narratives between past and present, the past being told by Heather and the present by Edie. Both are central characters. Both are unreliable as narrators. Both could destroy each other and themselves. Something has happened 17 years previously from when the novel begins and that event has had its toll on multiple characters. Edie, a once beautiful and lively girl, has disconnected herself and is living in limbo until one day Heather turns up unexpectedly. Heather is recluse and an enigma. The story begins henceforth. Bit by bit, Camilla Way, the author, peels layers of skins from her characters. She takes her time and brushes all the colors from her palette till we are left to see a masterpiece. The style and structure of this novel is so beautifully executed that it reminds of me of the sad beautiful poems of John Keats.

I always quote a passage or few lines that gives a ‘feel’ or some resonance while I am reading. For this book:

I hold my breath, afraid of her reaction when she realizes it’s me and not Heather who holds her, but she only yawns and looks about her, apparently unfazed to find herself here, outside, in the middle of the heath with me. She turns back to consider me, and I feel a strange, fleeting lightness, a momentary sense of weightlessness as our eyes meet. Something inside me at that moment seems to unlock, and we look and we look at each other and I feel such shock as I think: How did I not see? How did I not see before how beautiful, how lovely you are?

Great art always leaves a person in awe. By the time I finished this book, I think I had to remind myself to breathe. This is not a happy book. It does not uplift or give hope in the conventional way. It is a stark realization of human weakness and cowardice. It is about bad choices and suicidal infatuation. Of how truth can eat away at the soul for both victim and the perpetrator…and that some things can just never be forgotten or forgiven.

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To get this book from Amazon: Watching Edie by Camilla Way

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