A Shock: A provocative and clever novel filled with surprises

Book review: Keith Ridgway’s interconnecting stories focus on loss and survival

Readers of A Shock are instantly involved in the compelling action of Keith Ridgway’s worlds, the characters he writes with great compassion and clarity

Readers of A Shock are instantly involved in the compelling action of Keith Ridgway’s worlds, the characters he writes with great compassion and clarity

There is a special kind of reading pleasure in books that feature seemingly disconnected stories of interlocking lives. The American author Elizabeth Strout is a master of the style – her Lucy Barton and Olive Kitteridge books provide layered, detailed pictures of ordinary lives, the “little bursts” of joy or sadness that her characters in rural Maine encounter on any given day. 

Here at home in recent years, the format worked brilliantly for Donal Ryan in his Booker-nominated The Spinning Heart, and similarly so for Keith Ridgway in Hawthorn & Child, though the latter did not garner as much attention.

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