Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Friday Brown believes she is cursed. All the women who have died in her family have done so around or in water. Even her own mother died of pneumonia – her lungs drowned. At seventeen, she is cast out by her grandfather because she reminds him too much of his lost daughter. Friday is on her own on the streets.
She befriends a boy named Silence. He’s strange…with a troubled past he doesn’t
talk about. Silence lives with a group of squatters headed up by the charismatic, but cruel, Arden. They survive by petty crime, and their wits most of the time, with Arden running the show.
Friday resolves to leave and take Silence with her, but her money has been stolen and she is inextricably drawn to Arden in way she doesn’t really understand. When the cops start sniffing around the squat, Arden packs up the crew and they flee to the bush, where Friday feels more at those than the rest of the group. Arden feels threatened by this and applies pressure to Friday with physical violence. After a rain storm, the dried creek bed they have been camping in begins to flood and Friday and the rest must again flee. In all the confusing Silence disappears and things take a dark and tragic turn. Friday finds herself taking a stand – for herself, for her forebears and for Silence. She challenges her fate, and realises that love might just save her.
This book has unforgettable characters. While I found Friday to be sympathetic as a protagonist, the one I really connected with was Silence. Damaged by his past, he just wants to be loved and to feel safe. Arden is a deftly painted villain, as vile as any I have read.
Wakefield’s writing is superb. Economical, but lyrical, and full of wonderful imagery. The twists and turns of the plot are completely believable and the turning point of the novel was a complete punch in the guts, but achingly beautiful too.
An utter triumph. I am in awe of Vikki Wakefield and her amazing talent.