Book Review: After Z-Hour, by Elizabeth Knox

Available in bookstores nationwide.

Icv_after_z_hour had never previously read Elizabeth Knox, despite her being one of New Zealand’s most admired writers, but this is about to change. This story drew me in and simply wouldn’t let me go.

There was nothing I didn’t like, the characters were strong, real and very well-developed, the plot line went in and out of the time frames seamlessly, and Knox had obviously put a lot of time into her research. I have read a lot of fiction and non-fiction related to the Great War, and Knox has got this period and the horror of the experience spot on.

Seventy years after a young returned serviceman dies, six young people stranded by nightmarish weather get to chatting and sharing bits of their own stories when a mysterious seventh voice joins the conversation. Here, the natural and the supernatural come together and really give this tale a bite, and the reader is taken on a most interesting journey, one that is filled with twists and turns of the mind kind, the kind that leave you thinking “God, what next?”

The writing is lush, vivid and powerful, gritty words where needed, pretty words where needed.

The characters draw you into the story and hold you, while the introduction of the seventh voice completes the process. Once both have got you, there is no backing out, you are captured by the story, and there is no putting this book down until the last page.

Love and compassion, empathy and understanding are on the pages of this book. The understanding Knox has of the power of war experiences is quite remarkable. Many of the experiences and emotional consequences of war are only now being acknowledged, as veterans return from the frontline, and occasionally, commit horrendous crimes.

I loved this book. Along with Anthony Doer’s All the Light we Cannot See, it will rank as one of my best reads this year, and the best part is, it was the last thing I expected. Thank you Elizabeth Knox.

Reviewed by Marion Dreadon

After Z-Hour
by Elizabeth Knox
Published by VUP
ISBN 9780864739230

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