A governess turned attempted murderer. A midwife turned thief. A young girl turned human pet. The Exiles is a portrait of these three women and their intersecting lives in mid-nineteenth century Australia. It is melancholy and beautiful, achingly well written and meticulously researched, with detail that shows through on every page.
I call it a portrait because it doesn’t follow the traditional path of a novel. The women do not always have a motivation beyond survival, and at times even that seems hazy. The character arcs are not always resolved in a satisfactory way, or at all. This will not be to everyone’s taste (and when it came to certain characters, it frustrated me a little), but it does feel fitting all the same. History itself and its study can be uncertain and unsatisfying, and the novel’s ending feels fitting, even if it also felt less than it could have been.
On the whole, I greatly enjoyed The Exiles and am eager to look up more of Christina Baker Kline’s work. It is not an easy read, nor is it always pleasant, but it is beautiful and it feels true, both of which are vital to a novel.
|Author||Christina Baker Kline|
|Page Count||384 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|