The Other Me – Saskia Sarginson
(Published 10 March 2015)
This was a slow-burn for me…I struggled through the first half, feeling slightly frustrated by half-teasing leads that didn’t truly grab me until the second half, and then I couldn’t put it down. <<<I had to emphasise that so you would take notice. Hope you did! The story was compelling once it started to unravel at speed…I found it just took its time to get there.
There was a distinct moment where I thought, “A-ha! I’ve got it!”, which was satisfying; I don’t think Sarginson is trying to trick us, she simply has the ability to weave and create such a back-story that lead us to that moment quite naturally. I liked that I felt the story meandered until it decided to run. It didn’t annoy me or make me want to put the book down. I wanted to persevere. I’m glad I did.
It took me a while to warm to Klaudia/Eliza, our leading lady. There was something about her character that I just couldn’t bring myself to believe, although by the end of the book, I understood her more which made her easier to like. However, the concept of inventing a new identity in order to escape atrocities from her father’s past just didn’t sit well with me, especially when it involved pretending her parents had died.
I did enjoy the characters of Gwyn (Klaudia’s mother) and Ernst (Klaudia’s uncle) – I felt we were given a greater picture of these two, which made them more real. Otto (Klaudia’s father)…I really don’t know how I feel about him. I think we’re expected not to like him; I pitied him, mostly.
The depth of information given in the first-hand accounts of Uncle Ernst and his place in the Second World War was insightful and sobering; the research Sarginson has done to create a believable account is impressive.
I like Sarginson’s style; she has a very good eye for people and relationships. She captured the intensity between lovers, and the fractious relationship between Klaudia and Otto, perfectly. The dialogue was believable, the sense of secrecy amongst the mundane was electric.