The Sound Mirror: Feminist novel could have been penned by Sophocles’s sister

Heidi James’s resonant book about three women – and all women – is a great saga

Heidi James has written an exhilarating, heart-rending work

Heidi James has written an exhilarating, heart-rending work

The Sound Mirror starts on such a high note that one wonders how the author will ever manage to sustain it. After an opening sentence such as “She is going to kill her mother today” – with its nod to Albert Camus’s The Stranger and Ann Quin’s Berg – the only way is down, surely.

Against all the odds, Heidi James rises to the challenge, parlaying this expository gambit into an exhilarating, heart-rending work that is full of surprises. The main motif, crudely put, is the past in the present; the collective in the individual. It is introduced in the first chapter and reprised in the last, but what may have come across as theoretical is now so emotionally charged that the words resonate in the pit of your stomach, bringing tears – of joy as well as sorrow – to this reader’s eyes. Quite an achievement.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.