A Tatler Sizzling Summer Read Spectator Best Books of 2015 Shortlisted for the Guardian's Not the Booker Prize 'Intense, impressive...Told with force and bracing directness...It's a book that smashes into you' Guardian 'Both disturbing and ultimately uplifting ...the images she conjures up are so subversively creepy they haunt you for days' Spectator Pilgrim Jones doesn't belong here. She belongs in the cities of Europe, by her handsome husband's side. But here she is, in a village on the edge of Africa. No one knows why she is here and what she is hiding from. And she is not going to tell them - about her husband's betrayal, or the children she killed in a crash. But two men from Pilgrim's past are coming to find her - two men with very different motives.
One of TATLER'S SIZZLING SUMMER READS 'A thought-provoking novel ... deftly set in a world of mercenaries, philanthropists and witch doctors in polyester suits, the book asks how one atones for atrocity' TATLER '[An] intriguing story... The novel details a woman's exile to Tan-zania, where she hopes to find a new life away from Switzerland, her husband's infidelity and, most tragically of all, a car accident that leaves her responsible for the death of three children. In its short, single-scene chapters, and in the toggling between flashbacks to the woman's early life and the current African moment, the influence of another form is obvious: cinema... Compelling.' The Australian PICK OF THE WEEK 'Full of empathy and intelligence, this novel is a study of the shame, guilt and despair that can result from nothing more than desperately bad luck. With no shadow of didacticism or propaganda, it explores the nuances of our moral choices in a postcolonial context. The ending is startlingly optimistic and very moving.' Sydney Morning Herald 'There's an eerie, existential quality about Melanie Finn's new novel, Shame. What tiny, mundane choices determine our fate?... A paean by an Old Africa Hand to a magical continent of silent forests, slow, dark rivers, wild green mangroves; a world populated by child ghosts, haunted whites and AK-47-toting rebels. It is through this heart of darkness, a landscape rich in possibilities, that Pilgrim stumbles towards the light.' New Zealand Herald So powerful, brutal and haunting. There are scenes that will just stay in the memory, the birth scene in particular was just incredible. Absolutely brilliant -- Benjamin Judge, Not the Booker Prize Judge 2015 'This is one of those novels that can make others feel uniform, of a kind... The exceptionally vivid physical setting and sense of Africa's deprivation and abundance is echoed in Pilgrim Jones's psychological journey. At times I was caught between feeling I could hardly bear to read on whilst at the same time being unable to put the book down. Uniquely raw and wrenching, as traumatic as it is beautiful, this is a novel of emotional depth and wisdom in which the quality of the prose lights up even the darkest moments.' Literary Sofa 'Melanie Finn's second novel lives up to the promise of her first. Shame pulls off the feat of being both chilling and redemptive. She explores vast themes - the solitude of bereavement, the eternal nature of maternal love, the irony of fate - with a light, deft touch' -- Michela Wrong, author of It's Our Turn to Eat and Borderlines 'Arresting - Finn conjures up Africa perfectly' -- Margaret Forster, author of My Life in Houses 'A brilliantly written account of a soul in torment and the way she is pursued by her own fate. Finn evokes the darkness and light of Africa with the same sureness that she calls forth the brightness and shadow of the human heart' -- Tim Lott, author of The Scent of Dried Roses 'Haunting and atmospheric - I was completely hooked' -- Leila Aboulela, author of The Translator 'Shame, a second novel by Melanie Finn, deserved more recognition than it received. Her Africa is one I recognise, neither sentimental nor sensationalised. Finn has a light, deft touch as a writer, but the images she conjures up are so subversively creepy they haunt you for days' Spectator Best Books of the Year I rarely get as invested in the outcome of a novel as I did reading Shame ... These characters could be us -- Jill Alexander Essbaum, author of Hausfrau
Melanie Finn was born and raised in Kenya. She has worked as a screenwriter and a journalist, and is the founder and co-director of the Natron Healthcare Project, with helps rural Masai communities. Her first novel, AWAY FROM YOU, was published to great critical acclaim in 2004, and was longlisted for the Orange and IMPAC Prizes. Her second novel, SHAME, has been shortlisted for the GUARDIAN'S NOT THE BOOKER Prize. www.melaniefinn.com @melanie_finn