Atlantic Books Today review of Turn Us Again

In her debut novel, Charlotte R. Mendel examines the trauma of domestic violence and its inescapable hold on a family

Gabriel Golde is summoned from Nova Scotia to England by his estranged, alcholic father, Sam, who is dying of cancer. Same promptly hands Gabriel a memoir written by his deceased mother, Anne. Through this book withing a book, readers receive a rich, compelling portrait of a naive but self-assured woman, more complex than her frivolous behaviour suggests, as she struggles to survive within a violent marraige.

Through Anne (or Madelyn as she is renamed by Sam), Gabriel is forced to examine his relationship with his father and his own proclivity toward violence. However, as the novel shifts back and forth between the two stories, Anne’s memoir loses some of its power. A straightforward chronology might have better suited such a complex narravite. Nonetheless, by giving all three family members a voice, Mendel gives depth to a difficult subject.

– Sue Carter Flynn, Atlantic Books Today, Fall 2013

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