Thaw by Fiona Robyn
Snow Books (February 1, 2010)
Paperback, 350 pages
Source: Personal Copy
Ruth is thirty two years old and doesn't know if she wants to be thirty three. Her meticulously-ordered lonely life as a microbiologist is starved of pleasure and devoid of meaning. She decides to give herself three months to decide whether or not to end her life, and we read her daily diary as she struggles to make sense of her past and grapples with the pain of the present. "Thaw" explores what makes any of our lives worth living. Can Red, the eccentric Russian artist Ruth commissions to paint her portrait, find a way to warm her frozen heart?
I participated in the Blogsplash for this novel beginning in March. Prior to the release of Thaw, I read Robyn's The Blue Handbag (reviewed here) and enjoyed the writing immensely.
Thaw was a powerful and emotional journey. The story that Ruth told the reader through her private journal was so real that I almost felt as if I was invading her privacy. She was a deeply depressed character, and at first the premise that she was spending three months trying to decide if she would end her life was troubling for me. However, after reading several days worth of her thoughts, I was caught up in her life and her thoughts of why she might want to end it.
Fiona Robyn created a haunting picture of Ruth's character and all of the individuals in Ruth's life that helped to support her and cause her pain. I especially enjoyed how Ruth shared three memories that haunted her so much that she was reluctant to share them, even in her private journal. I had to keep reminding myself that I was reading fiction, because the journal seemed so much like a memoir - like I had glimpses of the struggles and thoughts of a real person.
Ruth's character was very real and the journey that she took was very moving. I felt that she challenged herself to make the most out of the three months: she included additional people in her life, she attempted to mend severed relationships, and she pursued new adventures - all to see if she would come to feel that her life was worth it.
I enjoyed Thaw very much and felt that I came to know Ruth, and maybe even a few things about myself that I didn't know before. Robyn's writing is powerful and emotional and she has a true gift for creating genuine and believable characters.
I recommend this novel for lovers of women's fiction and memoirs as well.
If you are interested in reading more about the book or Fiona Robyn, please visit the Thaw site.
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