Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Border lines (Turner Hospital) 335

I hadn't come across Janette Turner Hospital before finding Borderline in an Oxfam bookshop; I picked it up merely because it was an original green Virago and the picture on the front was a little horrifying. It turns out that she is quite an eminent writer - you can find more out about her here - from Australia with a whole string of novels to her name.

The book had a very slow start, and I never actually really got into it. It's the story of three people who meet at the border between America and Canada. Felicity and Gus end up helping Dolores, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, rescuing her from the freezer where she is hiding and taking her to a remote cottage in Quebec to hide.

Much of the commentary that I have seen about this book suggests that it is much more complex than a straightforward thriller, using the concepts of immigration, border crossing and identity to explore boundaries, both personal and political, and where the lines are and should be drawn. I have to say that I felt that JHT's desire to explore these issues didn't make the book particularly enjoyable for me to read.

Still, I've got another chance to give JTH a go, as her book The last magician is also a VMC.

It's been published twice by Virago in both original green and modern green covers.


  1. The front cover is a little frightening - but I think I like it - it looks slightly art deco

  2. To me it seems a bit reminiscent of communism!