Fault Lines by Nancy Huston

Nancy Huston's Fault Lines was a book I came across at random while browsing for something new and unusual in the library. This novel, a Prix Femina prize winner, is a family saga, told in reverse. We first see the world through the eyes of Sol, a six-year-old Californian boy in the year 2004. Secrets are beginning to reveal themselves when Sol's modern-day family travels to Germany, just in time for the narration to jump back twenty years to when Sol's father, Randall, was a young boy.

The change of narrator takes us progressively further and further back into this family's history. It is only once we see the world from each successively earlier generation's point of view that we begin to more fully understand the complexity of Sol's family background and the truth of their history during WWII.

Huston's anachronistic narrative is structured like a true mystery; the further back she takes us in time, the more we uncover, piece by piece, until finally the parts fit together to reveal the whole story. Additionally, we are introduced to the adult embodiment of each character before their childhood selves, making for an unusual but extremely effective style of character development. The unconventional narrative time line is not only refreshing but extremely well-done and leaves little doubt as to why this is such a winning novel.

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