Book Review: Ad Lib, by Thomasin Sleigh

This book is available in bookstores now.

This is the story of Kyla Crane, mourning the dcv_ad_libeath of her mother, a famous musician. Shortly after, her life becomes a reality television show – in which people turn up that claim to play an important role in her life, despite her never having met them before, things being shifted around and her life being pushed in directions she is not prepared to take it.

An engaging and somewhat unusual story, the sort that makes you question reality and fate. The writing is candid, enjoyable, the characters grasp your attentions and – to a point – affections. The plot moves smoothly, like waves that lap against you, enticing you deeper There is something poetic and eloquent, almost artistic, about the narration. At times the plot seems almost surreal, as though the characters are not so much real people in a novel, but characters in a story within the story. There are many questions – some of which will be answered – and a few strange, but fitting twists, as well as multiple layers. This is the sort of tale that probably needs to be read twice, or even thrice, to fully appreciate the nuances and levels and to fully understand the bigger picture.

I found the cameramen particularly interesting – they seemed almost alien, with the way their interests would focus, abruptly, on the most mundane things and the song – more of a chant, really – that they began concocting. They added an eerie otherness to proceedings. The lack of names for many of the minor players: the aunt, the cameraman, the imposter, aided in this, as did the repeating theme of characters called “Michael”.

This tale, like fame, is nebulous and ever-shifting. It is beautifully written, intriguing, oddly captivating and makes for a compulsive read. Literary and thought-provoking.

Reviewed by Angela Oliver

Ad Lib
by Thomasin Sleigh
Published by Lawrence & Gibson
ISBN 9780473274849

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