Sphere (Paperback) 3rd October 2019
Who is Evie?
Meet Evie, a young woman who has fled with her uncle to the isolated New Zealand beach town of Maketu. Jim says he’s hiding her to protect her, that she did something terrible back home in Melbourne. Something she can’t remember.
But Evie isn’t her real name. And Jim isn’t her real uncle.
In a house that creaks against the wind, Evie pieces together the events that led her here. And as her memories return, she starts to wonder if Jim is really her saviour…or her captor.
A sinister, slow burn of a read with the story unfolding as the book progresses and the full reveal not being divulged until the final pages of this psychological suspense debut. Compared to Room and Sharp Objects, this book details the story of Evie and Jim, living in a remote New Zealand town, having adopted false identities. The comparisons are apt in terms of a warped, caring relationship, although in Call Me Evie the circumstances of this relationship remain unclear for the majority of the book and crucially the reader remains uncertain as to the nature of the relationship and whether it is protective for Evie or controlling. Similarly the circumstances surrounding their exile are a mystery although it is clear they are hiding something, what is less clear is Evie’s recollection of events.
Told in a before and after format in the first person voice of Evie. The story builds to a crescendo when all begins to be revealed in the final pages. A concluding twist pleased me but essentially this book kept me guessing throughout. If I’m honest I much preferred the before sections which detail Evie in school, with her friends and with her boyfriend, doing teenage things. The after segments were much slower and less plot driven, with Evie uncertain of her situation, who to trust and seeking to find out more.
The plot was strong and the circumstances leading to Evie’s exile read as authentic. Without giving anything away I personally liked the way this story panned out, although can’t explain why without spoilers, so won’t! I will say this book has a theme about relationships and when then go wrong, jealousy, envy and loss also feature and these themes are interesting to reflect on post read.
This is a strong debut out in paperback now, I would definitely recommend this book for fans of Room and who don’t mind a slow build up in a novel, slightly dark and certainly not a joyful read but well written and engaging with some contemporary themes.
About the Author
J.P Pomare grew up on a horse-racing farm in small town New Zealand with his three older siblings and his father. He left for Melbourne where he developed his craft, entrenching himself in the Australian literary community. For almost two years he produced and hosted a podcast called On Writing, interviewing almost thirty local and international authors including Joyce Carol Oates, John Safran, Dorthe Nors, E Lockheart, Chris Wormersley, and Sofie Laguna.
J. P. Pomare has been published in several journals and has also won, and been short- and longlisted for a number of prizes including the KYD Unpublished Manuscript Prize. Call Me Evie is his first novel.
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