That Devil’s Madness by Dominique Wilson ranks as one of my dozen Top Aussie Reads of 2016.
That Devil’s Madness Synopsis
In 1896 Louis and his father, seduced by the allure of North Africa, travel to Algeria in search of a better life. There, Louis befriends Imez, a Berber boy, and the two become firm friends. They grow and prosper, and become like brothers.
Years later, Nicolette, an Australian photojournalist, is drawn to cover the illness and eventual death of Algerian President Boumedienne. She sees it as an opportunity to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps, make her mark, and restore the bonds of the past. But the rules have changed – will the bonds that once existed be sufficient for her to survive?
That Devil’s Madness tells of the often heart-rending tensions that exist between idealism and duty, between friendship and loyalty to one’s country – of the struggle for freedom, dignity and respect. Dramatic, honest and shockingly relevant to today’s world situation, the novel is driven by finely crafted characters, exquisite prose and razor-sharp drama and mystery.
(Transit Lounge, February 2016)
Genre: Literature, Historical, Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Action-Adventure
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Having admired the moving storyline in Dominique Wilson’s 2014 novel The Yellow Papers, I was looking forward to seeing what weighty subject matter she would tackle next. That Devil’s Madness, her venture into the tumultuous history of her birth place Algeria, surpassed my expectations.
This is a story that is both intimate and epic. It is a story about emotional scar tissue – its creation and the devastating effects it can have on generations that follow. Through the plight of individuals Wilson highlights the unfathomable harm and deprivation we humans inflict upon one another.
In addition to the uncompromising storyline, what really stood out for me in That Devil’s Madness is Wilson’s maturing talent as a novelist.
On reflection, just how complex the intertwining and reflective narrative structure is and how skilfully it has been employed is a thing to be admired.
And Wilson’s prose… she has evoked something special in her character development and depiction of place and mood that is hard to describe. The scenes and interactions felt so anchored in reality, the emotions raw and the fear palpable, as though I were watching a documentary rather than reading a work of fiction.
Combine this character presence with the brutality of the events depicted and the result is heart-wrenching.
That Devil’s Madness is a powerful and compelling novel from a very talented Australian author. I sincerely hope it garners the audience and acclaim it deserves.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5
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Update: I have also now had the pleasure of reading Wilson’s third novel Orphan Rock.
About the Author, Dominique Wilson
Dominique Wilson was born in Algiers to French parents. She grew up in a country torn by civil war, until she and her family fled to Australia. Her short stories have been published nationally and read on ABC Radio, and one of her short stories was made into a short film. She was founding co-managing editor of Wet Ink: the magazine of new writing, and Chair of the Adelaide branch of International PEN. She holds a Masters and a PhD in Creative Writing. Check out her website and connect with Dominique on Twitter / Facebook.
* My receiving a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions in the review above.