Author- Bernard Beckett.
Publish date- May 27th, 2015.
Publisher- Text Publishing.
RRP- $19.99 (AUD)
(A Brief) Synopsis:
Rene’s twin brother is dying in hospital, and Rene must make the decision whether he takes the chance to bring him back, even if that means he might be bringing back a completely different person.
Thank you to Text Publishing for this review copy!
Image Source: Text Publishing.
What I thought:
I read and was fairly conflicted with Bernard Beckett’s Genesis, and to describe the way I felt during and after reading Lullaby would be to remember the oddness, peculiarity, confusion and conflict of emotions that came with Genesis.
Lullaby is strange.
And I’m thinking this is how Bernard Beckett’s writing is going to keep getting me. His plots are interesting, with so much hidden, lying in wait in the synopsis’, but so far they haven’t left me positive. They’ve left me unseated and perplexed, and Lullaby features an unreliable narrator, of which I am stridently not fond.
The story is of two twins. One is in the hospital and with only hours to live, though he’s not lucid. The other is telling a psychologist stories of them both, a history of the two brothers, while constantly challenging and second guessing most everything. All he says is noted and taken down to decide whether he is in enough of a right mind to go through with an operation that will- could- bring his brother back, only not as he knew him, not as he was.
And it was bizarre.
It’s set in a future that is at once very familiar, but altered in it’s medical advances and the names given to drugs- what really made it feel different was Rene’s perspective, the way he viewed and described all that was around him. I can’t say Rene’s was a view I was all that happy to be in. I… disliked him. He and his brother had a very close but, as it progressed, unhealthy relationship. They went against each other, clashed for dominance, and both of them came across as being fairly awful people. Rene is supposed to be the nicer one, Theo the opposite, in the eyes of the people surrounding them, but Rene didn’t seem like a “good” person. His identity felt fragile yet bitter, his motives were born of misguided intent, and I didn’t understand him.
The novel ends on a somewhat predictable note in it’s openness, with so much unexplained and so much starkly told in the last chapters- I had grown to expect and ending like that, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it. It encompassed the things that frustrated me with Lullaby, and it frustrated me all the more intently.
Rating: Oh nooo... I sense an explosion coming and this is the worst possible time for an explosion.
This was a disappointment for me. I like my endings to be at least a little secure, and this was, frankly, the opposite of a secure ending. Faintly thriller-esq, this was a novel I can imagine some readers truly being taken away by, but not me.