Marguerite Valentine

Marguerite Valentine

Books for the Psychologically Minded

REVIEW: Echo

Marguerite Valentine’s novel Echo, transports the reader in the, often irritable, humourus and also painful and tender world of the young adolescent : Echo.

Echo, tries to separate from her mother, without the help of a father, who left Echo and her mother when Echo was born. Echo’s efforts to try to find a father figure in the outside world, without having had any experience or capacity to discriminate between seductive and real affection, results in her having to learn from bitter experience, who the people are who have her real interest at heart.

For Echo to transform into the adult, who calls herself Anja, she has to learn to listen and develop her own authentic voice, first represented by Echo, by a newly aquired handbag, which gives her a sense of a new identity. Echo also will experience her own capacity to seduce as well as her capacity for revenge, and learn to moderate both in the process of becoming the adult Anja.

The novel is set mainly in two locations, firstly the countryside of Wales, at the border of the Severn, within the surrealist painter world of her mother and friends, where Echo spends her summers. Secondly, the city scape of London, where Echo spends her childhood with mother and chilhood friend, as well as her college student days, where she becomes part ot the world of recycled fashion, as well as the world of therapy. The descriptions of both these worlds, come very much alive in Marguerite Valentine’s writing, and give Echo/Anja, a believable environment in which her transformation can take place.

Marguerite Valentine manages to takes the reader along in her novel,by stimulating the readers desire to know how Echo will develop, and find her own identity, and by her lively descriptions of Echo/Anja’s internal world, those surrounding her, as well as her description of nature and the city.

Marguerite Valentine manages to bring the novel to a satisfactory conclusion, with Echo’s transformation into the adult Anja, who has found her own voice, and able to create a genuine relationship with her first childhood boyfriend, with the help of some caring adults.

Martine Telders

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