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Two Truths by Dana C. Carver

On her personal website, Dana Carver puts it like this: ‘the unfolding process of our lives is so much more beautiful than the ones we had planned.’ This sums up the thought process behind the writing of Two Truths.

The story of Two Truths has complexities that will be difficult to capture in the five hundred odd words for this piece of writing, suffice to say that there is a depth to the novel that has the potential to draw you into its world, swirl it around and spit you out. The pace alone is something to be reckoned with. Yet, it also acted well as a holiday page turner, sitting on the verge at the side of a few different beaches taking in the world of Renee and her daughters who have their own decisions and issues to work through.

Carver lives on a Dairy farm in the South Island but it is her origins in America that come to the fore here in this novel. Set in various parts of the US and New Zealand, the narrative flits between the key characters, each of which brings their own unique perspective and personality, as they unravel the death of the father - an interesting mystery in and of itself. But it is the conspiracies that ultimately take over for the latter part of the book. However, despite the occasional rabbit hole which we, as the reader, are taken down, there is a lot of research and learning that has clearly taken place as these shadowy groups and figures come more into the light.

The bringing together of the story is a well choreographed dance. Each of the threads seem obviously related at the start, but are intertwined effectively and with some surprising twists along the way. One may find themselves coming back to the book just to see how things can take another 90 degree turn without much warning.

Psychologically, there are some parts that may be tough to read, forcing the reader to consider their own perspective on the topics raised. Certainly the mysticism within the novel has a strong force within the narrative progression. Similarly the historical references make for a fascinating interpretation of the events of the past. Sometimes science fiction, sometimes truth. At times it was hard to decipher which was which.

In reading the book you will need to let your inner frustration for a more logical whodunit mystery be pushed aside for a time. Like misshaped pegs, each of the storylines do feel a little strewn across the page without much of a hope of connection. To say that some parts are confusing at first would be understandable. Yet in the last quarter(ish) of the novel Carver is able to pull the whole thing together and the unruly pegs seemlessly fall into place.

Overall, the novel is one that will sit with you, both as a memory of a page turner and a real ride of a story, but also the deeper implications that the book suggests. Great stuff from the first published writing of Dana C. Carver.

Review: Chris Reed


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