A Song of Isolation by Michael J. Malone #BookReview #BlogTour

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.

I'm honoured to be hosting the blog tour for A Song of Isolation today. Huge thanks to Michael J. Malone, Orenda Books and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.

Michael J. Malone is one of my favourite authors and there is always something very special about his books. He is consistently able to explore the most harrowing, difficult subjects with enormous sensitivity and piercing insight. In A Song of Isolation he turns his hand to examining another inflammatory topic but this powerful novel is about even more than a high-profile child sex abuse case.
The narrative follows three main characters; the accused, Dave Robbins, his girlfriend, the former actor, Amelie Hart and his alleged victim, eleven-year-old Damaris. Unlike anybody involved in the story, Michael J. Malone doesn't cast judgement on these three people and so while it's entirely natural and right to sympathise with the young girl. I couldn't help but also empathise with the terrible position that Dave and Amelie suddenly find themselves in.
It may be that people are considered innocent before being proven guilty in the eyes of the law but as is made vividly clear here, that doesn't extend to the emotional responses of those involved - or of much of the general public, who sit in judgement in their homes, taking to social media to express their dogmatic opinions as truth. Even as the reader, we are perhaps guilty of  determining fault or otherwise, before the truth is finally known. I wanted Dave to be innocent but as the novel progressed, I was forced to question whether that was because I liked him and hoped he would be exonerated or because if he was guilty of the crimes he stands accused of, it could mean that a young girl had been abused by a man she trusted. 
Amelie Hart is in an even more uncomfortable position as she continues to assert her belief in Dave's innocence, realising that, 'Already she was removing Damaris from any position of sympathy in her heart. Dehumanising her so it would be easy, despite promising herself not to, while knowing the poor soul was as much a victim as Dave was.' .
Her fame means the case becomes particularly notorious and as such, her responses are evaluated and criticised by a gossip-hungry media and public who jostle to make their voices heard above the cacophony of conflicting viewpoints. The price of fame is known to be harsh and that's more true than ever in A Song of Isolation as Amelie is subjected to the worst toxicity of social media and even accused of being complicit in her boyfriend's crimes, while finding herself increasingly isolated and haunted by her own memories of the terrifying incident that led to her walking away from the limelight.
As Dave struggles to adjust to life as the most hated category of prisoner - so reviled are these inmates, they are referred to as beasts, the prison scenes seethe with tension, with the risk of violence and retribution never far away. Meanwhile, Damaris is suffering too, as the enormity of what she is put through weighs heavily on her adolescence. The novel twists and turns ensuring I was never quite sure what the outcome would be and there are some shocking revelations as the disturbing consequences of what greed and jealousy can lead to is laid bare. The truth is important and it eventually comes to light but A Song of Isolation is also about the insatiable desire for salacious headlines and the abiding, heartbreaking effect on those who become caught up in the frenzy. 
This is an exceptional novel by an author who deserves every accolade, and these characters and their heart-rending story will stay with me for the longest time. Michael J. Malone always has the courage to explore difficult subjects honestly and A Song of Isolation is the literary equivalent of an iron fist in a velvet glove; compelling, provocative, emotive and as always, beautifully written - don't miss this twisty gem of a book!

A Song of Isolation is published by Orenda Books, purchasing links can be found here

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

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. Other published work includes: Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines and After He Died soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.


Post a Comment