Today is my stop on the blog tour for Off-Island, the debut book by Marlene Hauser. Thank you to Anne Cater and Matador Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this poignant book.
About the book:
A woman’s right to choose: Marlene Hauser’s debut novel focuses on the individual and not the “issue”.
Abortion and the stigma surrounding it have always fuelled controversy and strong opinions, but how often are the women involved forgotten about because of the heatedness of the issue surrounding them? In Marlene Hauser’s emotionally-moving and uplifting novel, Off-Island, she concentrates on the woman herself and the ripples that spread out beyond the choice.
“My book is distinguished from others in the market because it focuses on trying to describe the unexpected emotional pain of abortion and the healing process,” explains Marlene, “As well as the high cost of not allowing a woman who has had an abortion to say ‘Ouch!’ Sometimes it may limit the rest of her life.”
Krista Bourne has always been surrounded by the strength, love and wealth of her family and their homes in New York City and Martha’s Vineyard. She has never had to think for herself. When she realises she’s pregnant, the decision whether she and her boyfriend want the baby or not bring a crossroads to their relationship, and ultimately Krista rejects all support, isolating herself at a time when she needs most support. And when she returns home, she discovers she doesn’t know her family history as well as she imagined.
“I wrote this book to give voice to what I felt was a missing voice in the annals of fiction,” says Marlene. “My inspiration was the women who I met who still talked of their experiences in a whisper or not at all, as well as press accounts that outlined the same.”
Gripping, relatable and utterly needed in a society that is still inclined to judge, Off-Island fulfils a need to educate the uninformed and as a voice for those who are still afraid to stand up.
About the author:
Marlene Hauser is a professional writer who lives in Oxford and a member of the Society of Authors. She has edited The Writer’s New York City Source Book and also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University.
Off-Island by Marlene Hauser may only be a short book, but is one that packs an emotional punch all the same. Krista Bourne is a dancer who finds herself at a crossroads in her life. She knows that whichever way she chooses to turn will impact the rest of her life going forward. As a young woman who leads a privileged life, she has never had to think for herself, so when she realises she’s pregnant she finds herself in a situation unlike any she’s ever been in before.
Krista rejects all offers of support, isolating herself at a time when she needs help more than ever. Her beloved father and grandmother who passed away years before are never far from her thoughts and, in vivid dreams, she comforts herself by flying with her pilot father, reliving the memories of her past. She remembers the idyllic childhood holidays spent with her bohemian grandmother and decides to return to the summer home on Martha’s Vineyard where she was so happy. But Krista is soon to find out that she does not know her family history quite as well as she imagined…
Off-Island is a book that will resonate with many, especially the isolation and turmoil Krista goes through as she comes to terms with the decision she knows she has to make. Marlene Hauser has written a moving story that deals with a complex and sensitive issue incredibly well. The writing is exquisitely beautiful as we follow Krista on her poignant journey of discovery in this story of love, life, loss, grief and human resilience.
Although only a short novel, Off-Island is an emotionally charged tale that I’m glad I read. It’s a thought provoking story that’s relevant to the times we live in today and is one that still needs to be told. Krista’s story is a compelling and moving read, told with a sensitivity and lack of judgement that was refreshing to read.
I look forward to reading more by this author in the future. Recommended.
Off-Island by Marlene Hauser is available to buy now: Amazon UK
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