Limestone – Fiona Farrell

This is an intriguing story with threads of mystery, identity, art and stone. Clare Lacey is on a lifelong mission to find her father, who went out for cigarettes one morning and was never seen again. While at an Art History conference in Ireland, Clare continues the search by following a few tenuous leads.

The chapters alternate from third person to first person, always from Clare’s point of view. Through this we see Clare on her present journey and also her as a child in Oamaru. I have no idea why the narrative alternated in this way, but perhaps this is another way in which Fiona Farrell is questioning identity and time. She writes, “In Limestone I wanted to write about time – and in particular how I find myself thinking about time as I become older. On the one hand, there is time as it is experienced in a single human lifetime. One part of this novel is made up of a quest…The other part of the novel is about geological time – and in that sense of time, human lives whether fictional or actual, shrink to a speck, to almost nothing.”

I enjoyed the ‘quest’ nature of the narrative and the connection to the past through Art History, layers of rock and drawing as a way of preserving or exhuming memories.

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