Autumn Reading – “The Fragments” by Toni Jordan

I have followed the work of Melbourne based author, Toni Jordan over several years, and can recommend her most recent novel.

This is a murder mystery set in Brisbane, with many familiar features about this city and the lifestyle of those who live there, that are like hooks to grab hold of and keep the reader feeling they are very much a part of the story. There are also vivid descriptions of rural Queensland life and the contrast of this with transition to, and living in the city.

Tony weaves together the tales of several women from different points in time, with different world views, but some remarkable aspects in common.

One story commences with an idyllic childhood on the farm with the focus on nature, life in the outdoors, and the calm and peace of living in the country. This changes unexpectedly when the stresses and challenges of farming in times of drought result in sale and a move to the city. This move has a profound impact on all members of the family, and brings out the best in some and the worst in others.

This girl suffers terribly from having had her world turned upside down, and the story describes her journey from child, to working young adult, and fleeing to another country for a fresh start. It is there that she meets an author, becomes involved in intrigue and eventually a murder.

The other story involves a young woman who has been fascinated by the works of this author, and decides decades later to investigate her death. In doing so she learns a lot about herself, who she wants to be with, and what she wants from life. We get interesting glimpses of life in academia, and the literary world, and exposure to a range of fascinating characters.

The themes in this book that stood out for me, were the importance of relationships and commitment, balance and trust-what it is to be committed to someone else, how to manage relationships that consume you and how to retain a sense of your own identity, and above all trust-deciding who to trust and who not to trust!

It is a well written story with clever parallels between the stories that linked them together and gave cohesion, but they did become complicated at times and perhaps a bit confusing. Overall, a very good story and well worth reading. I would give it 4 stars.

More resources