The Seventh Simian by Gary Kurylo

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The Seventh Simian by Gary Kurylo

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Dreams, real life and the supernatural merge in this story about a child that could save mankind, if only it can be protected. An aborbing, interesting read, strongest in its descriptions of the isolation of the other.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 363 Date: December 2014
Publisher: Amazon Media

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Edith has lived alone for many years and she has become irascible and rather anti-social. She avoids even going into the nearby village to do her shopping and the only human being she sees with any regularity is the local shopkeeper who makes grocery deliveries to her and makes an art form of palming off the strange old lady with overpriced, underweight goods. If it weren't for her cat, Edith would have no companionship at all.

There's good reason for this - Edith has abilities others do not. She has dreams. She understands the strange forces at work in our world. Her mother, a religious woman, always hated this aspect of her daughter and had always tried to suppress it. And for good reason - the only boy Edith ever loved was kept from her by his family, who feared and despised the girl's abilities. But Edith's grandmother, long dead, had always supported and loved the strange little girl, and passed on what she could of knowledge and lore.

It's knowledge Edith will need when Sarah comes into her life. The lost, amnesiac, half-drowned girl arrives in autumn and Edith knows, with every fibre of her being, that Sarah - and her unborn child - is the most important person in the world. She must be protected at all costs.

But who is Jack, the neighbour who appears just before Sarah, as if heralding her arrival? And why does he take such an interest in the lost girl? What is the significance of Sarah's son? Can he fulfil his destiny? Will Edith's charms and totems be enough to keep him safe? The answers are to be found in dreams, shared between Edith and Sarah. But will they reveal their secrets in time?

I thoroughly enjoyed The Seventh Simian. It's an absorbing read, split between evocative descriptions of the kitchen sink realities of a strange old lady and a woman who remembers little of her life before a new friendship, and a dreamscape in which the supernatural backstory of the novel is slowly revealed. It's an excellent study of isolation in which the reader is invited to step into the misery and loneliness of otherness. I felt for Edith. It's also cleverly paced, with several points of crisis in the narrative. With each, I wondered how the story would possibly develop and it took me in interesting and unexpected directions each time.

It's also emotionally draining and I felt quite exhausted - but also exhilarated - by the time I finished reading. This is a novel for people interested in forces beyond our control, in the possibilities of agencies we don't fully understand, and in the unexplored potentials of human beings. You'll root for Edith and Sarah, I promise.

Those interested in dream worlds might also enjoy The Never Pages by Graham Thomas.

Buy The Seventh Simian by Gary Kurylo at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Seventh Simian by Gary Kurylo at

Buy The Seventh Simian by Gary Kurylo at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Seventh Simian by Gary Kurylo at


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