The Broken Spiral review: broken lives, healing words

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The Broken Spiral
The Broken Spiral
Author: Edited by RM Clarke
ISBN-13: 9781527215825
Publisher: Mutiny
Guideline Price: €15

This anthology in support of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre features pieces by various writers united by the theme "the long and winding road back". How to Build a Space Rocket is narrated by the young daughter of separating parents, while the pubescent girl narrator in the extract from Harvesting has been sold into sex trafficking by her father. The 23-year-old narrator of What You Don't Know, the victim of a paedophile, carries on a dialogue with his dead father as he drives to desecrate the grave of his recently dead abuser.

The Naming of It stands out, a story of terrible loss that ends on a flicker of hope, as does The Letter, where an elderly expat writes to his sister recalling her abuse by their older brother and the sudden death of their father; instead of posting the letter, he puts it floating on the sea. All of the characters have suffered and many are almost broken but somehow they find their slow, tentative way towards healing in this anthology of high-quality writing.