A gloomy seascape is of little consequence to Julia, as a ferry transports her to an isolated Welsh island to undertake a Spiritual Development course. Soon, Julia finds herself surrounded by new friends and questions. As relationships deepen, so does Julia’s feeling that something crucial is missing from her life. As passion ignites and deep-buried secrets surface, Julia faces choices that will forever change the direction of her life. But at what cost?
It’s good to see a middle-aged woman at the centre of her own story – the sheer fact that Julia is literally transplanted to a remote island thousands of miles from home means that she is moving away from her characterisation as a mother and wife, and has to be seen for herself. It is perhaps this aspect which I found most interesting. Julia is forced by isolation and study to assess her state of mind and her beliefs. Whilst I don’t share her religious ideas, I enjoyed Parritt’s examination of what solitude and time can do to the way we start to re-assess the roles we have adopted over time.
The best bits, for me, were Julia’s memories of her childhood and adolescence. These were told with a moving simplicity that worked well in contrast to her reactions to those on the island with her, which, given the nature of her ‘re-navigation’ had a different, more intense tempo. Julia’s memories are her way of making sense of the woman she has become, a way of explaining the choices she has made.
The idea of being cast spiritually adrift is a fascinating, if unsettling, one to explore, and Parritt has come at it from an original angle. Julia is a brave and honest protagonist, and this novel is peopled with enough diversity of characters to make her altered route an interesting one to follow.
AU – https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07NN9LGG4
US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NN9LGG4
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NN9LGG4
Book Depository – http://www.bookdepository.com/Re-Navigation-Sue-Parritt/9781097158850
Originally from England, Sue worked in university libraries until taking early retirement in 2008 to concentrate on creative writing. Since then she has written short stories, articles, poetry, a short TV drama script and six novels:
Sannah and the Pilgrim, first in a trilogy of a future dystopian Australia focusing on climate change and the harsh treatment of refugees from drowned Pacific islands. Odyssey Books, 2014. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2014.
Pia and the Skyman, Odyssey Books, 2016. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2016.
The Sky Lines Alliance, Odyssey Books, 2016.
Chrysalis, the story of a perceptive girl growing up in a Quaker family in swinging sixties’ Britain. Morning Star Press, 2017
Re-Navigation recounts a life turned upside down when forty-year old Julia journeys from the sanctuary of middle-class Australian suburbia to undertake a retreat at a college located on an isolated Welsh island. Creativia Publishing, 2019.
Feed Thy Enemy, based on her father’s experiences, is an account of courage and compassion in the face of trauma as a British airman embarks on a plan that risks all to feed a starving, war-stricken family. Creativia Publishing, 2019.
Sue’s current project, A Question of Country, is a novel exploring the migrant experience through the protagonist’s lifelong search for meaningful identity.
Passionate about peace and social justice issues, Sue’s goal as a fiction writer is to continue writing novels that address topics such as climate change, the effects of war, the treatment of refugees, feminism and racism. Sue intends to keep on writing for as long as possible, believing the extensive life experiences of older writers can be employed to engage readers of all ages.
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