As a huge fan of Michael J Malone’s writing, I am delighted to be taking part in the tour for his latest novel, A Song of Isolation, which probably has one of my favourite covers of the year! Thanks to Anne over at Randomthingstours, the author and the publisher for inviting me to take part.
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
Film star Amelie Hart is the darling of the silver screen, appearing on the front pages of every newspaper. But at the peak of her fame she throws it all away for a regular guy with an ordinary job. The gossip columns are aghast: what happened to the woman who turned heads wherever she went?
Any hope the furore will die down are crushed when Amelie’s boyfriend Dave is arrested on charges of child sexual abuse. Dave strongly asserts his innocence, and when Amelie refuses to denounce him, the press witch hunt quickly turns into physical violence, and she has to flee the country.
While Dave is locked up with the most depraved men in the country and Amelie is hiding on the continent, Damaris, the victim at the centre of the story, is isolated – a child trying to make sense of an adult world.
Breathtakingly brutal, dark and immensely moving, A Song of Isolation looks beneath the magpie glimmer of celebrity to uncover a sinister world dominated by greed and lies, and the unfathomable destruction of innocent lives … in an instant.
Do you ever pick up a book and you don’t want to put it down but at the same time, you just don’t want it to finish? A Song of Isolation from Michael J Malone was one of those books. I managed to string it out for 4 days when all I wanted to do was lose myself in those pages and devour in a day! The tension in that prologue was palpable, I had to shake myself off before continuing to read and I knew, from that point, Michael J Malone had me in the palm of his hand!
The book kicks off in 2010, when movie star Amelie Hart experiences an incident which will see her shun her life of stardom. Swiftly moving on 5 years and Amelie is living with her partner, Dave, but she is swithering over her feelings for him. A knock at the door brings their world crashing down around them. Amelie is forced to flee the country and Dave is locked up with the kind of men who make his stomach turn.
Michael Malone has written a masterpiece with this novel, there is an intensity and a rawness about each character and each story. The scenes with Dave in prison are powerful, he has created a sense of simmering tension and with each page my stomach was clenching in that “just waiting for something to happen” way. I could hear the cell doors slam closed and smell the desperation in every page.
The novel is told from the perspective of Dave, Amelie and Damaris, the child Dave is accused of abusing. Each character will speak to you, they will reach into your soul and tear you apart. The desperate isolation and hopelessness oozes through the pages and while my pity was with all characters, the one who touched me most was Damaris. There is so much I want to say but my lips are sealed but that child broke my heart.
This book ripped every emotion from me, I am not ashamed to say that I sobbed and I mean properly sobbed. I was more than just a “reader” I became part of this story such is the intensity of the writing. As each layer is slowly stripped back we discover why Amelie shunned the movie star life, we learn just how intrusive the media can be, the very real effect of social media and just what lengths some people will go to, to get what they want.
Given the very dark subject matter, it seems odd to say that the writing is beautiful, but it is, it is exquisite, it is poetic and every single word in this book has more than earned its place on the page. Michael Malone takes a pile of letters and turns them into magic; he creates a cast of characters who will step out the pages and draw you into their lives and he writes books that will leave their mark on you long after you turn the last page.
Don’t forget to check out what the other bloggers are saying:
A Song of Isolation can be purchased via:
About the author
Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and
brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200
poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing
Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut
novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. His
psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the
critically acclaimed House of Spines, After He Died and In the Absence of
Miracles soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber &
Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.