Review by Heather Sylvawood
A daughter aches to find her missing father – a father whom her mother has blamed and bad-mouthed most of her remembered childhood.
The trigger for the search?
The 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
Annie returns from Britain and begins her search under first the guidance of her cynical nursing friend, Jess, and later her father’s old friend Vince, uncovering along the way the underbelly of a powerful family intent on protecting the family business.
Alongside this story Bennett reveals a man, beset by demons of his own making. Apparently not a likeable character, yet as the story progresses we gain a sneaking regard for the broken alcoholic.
Familiar streets and events
Readers who know Christchurch will recognise familiar streets, familiar sites, familiar people and events. In fact, I found some of his characters so close to known people that I wondered if they might have been speed-dialling their lawyers. But then, would they bother objecting to such fiction?
Bennett’s writing is clean and crisp, and his observation of human reactions is succinct. He resists the Hollywood ending, while tying the ends comfortably together. A good read especially for those for whom the memory of the broken city of Christchurch touches the heart as much as it does mine.
Book: King Rich, by Joe Bennett, published by Fourth Estate, www.harpercollins.co.nz