My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I first stumbled upon this book in my Facebook news feed. Penguin Books Australia had posted an extract of the book before the book was released so I grabbed the opportunity to a) hopefully read some good quality literature and b) procrastinate. I am pleased to say both these goals were achieved.
“What Came Before” follows the story of a man and his wife. The first paragraph had me hooked and I soon found I didn’t want to let the book go. The story starts in present time before flashing back to the first few encounters the protagonists had. As you continue reading, the stark contrast between what seems like the perfect, loving relationship and what you know definitely happened in the present time really does make you wonder how love could go so wrong. So you want to read more. You want to understand.
You soon realise that the man, David, is deeply troubled with a lot of unresolved anger issues. The woman, Elle, winds up being collateral to her husband’s deep-seated anger problems. “What Came Before” is an excellent portrayal of domestic abuse and how, quite often, the victim struggles to sever ties with their abuser. George has managed to perfectly capture what I would think would be the typical situation involving violence against women. The alternating chapter style were it flips from his story to hers works really well to slowly build up that sense of impending doom.
Being from Melbourne myself, I also loved that it was set in an area I was familiar with and enjoyed George’s description of the city streets. The writing style was easy to read but did not feel too basic or boring. Considering you’ve got such a powerful plot, you don’t want to be working with flowery writing – I think George hit the nail on the head again.
Read it if you want an engaging storyline that makes you want to know more and to comprehend. Read it if you like a good murder-mystery as told from the perspectives of the two people involved.
Do you like crime novels? What’s your favourite genre?