Today, in honour of my upcoming Dark Fiction release, I’m purposely throwing the spotlight on author Chantal Noordeloos as a writer who is as in tune with my sensibilities as she is also apart from them. I understand her intentions behind her darker work, as she would no doubt understand mine. As her biography states, she’s a writer born in the Hague, lives in the Netherlands, with what strikes me as the perfect balance of family: a husband who shares the right level of unconventionality and a wily daughter as amusing as she is ingenious — a word that suits the whole Noordeloos ensemble and zeal for life. It is this love of life that may make one question why Chantal visits such dark realms in her writing: one of those cases where the question itself may supply the answer, for these tales face our darkest fears and often drive back the shadows or, at least, greet what lurks within them head-on.
Wrath begins with a first-person telling of a vicious attack on an unknown woman, but what may seem like the end of her journey turns into another beginning… with choices only the wrathful can make. This is a thought-provoking story in the second of this author’s contribution to her ‘seven deadly sins’ series.
What immediately came to mind was the amount of unpleasant research done to get the atmosphere of this nasty little tale just right. The story plays out on many levels making the reader uncomfortable, questioning morality and even what constitutes a ‘sin’. Some reading the story won’t agree, I’m sure, but it’s necessary to go deeper and consider the issues within to feel that greater sense of purpose. These layers are present from the outset. Not to give the story details away but a pre-set view of the main character forms before the truth comes to light and in this way made me question personal concepts; or, in other words, I was too quick to impress my view on the character and then surprised when I realised the actual circumstances, but this is a good thing, potentially making the reader self-aware of how ingrained preconceptions can be.
The story also highlights the plight of women around the world, how societies and even groups within societies view feminism (just another word for equality) and it does it at an emotional level that I hope will make both men and women squirm. If this story makes the reader uncomfortable, well, it should. It should also make them question. On the negative side, there were a couple of editing points, and although I found the end satisfying, it felt a little fast coming after a steady build-up. That’s why I award the story 4 out of 5 but I eagerly expect the rest of the series and these issues should be largely overlooked midst the bones of a provocative story.