Book Review: Cartwheel by Jennifer Dubois
September 26, 2013 15 Comments
The publisher says: “When Lily Hayes arrives in Buenos Aires for her semester abroad, she is enchanted by everything she encounters: the colorful buildings, the street food, the handsome, elusive man next door. Her studious roommate Katy is a bit of a bore, but Lily didn’t come to Argentina to hang out with other Americans.
Five weeks later, Katy is found brutally murdered in their shared home, and Lily is the prime suspect. But who is Lily Hayes? It depends on who’s asking. As the case takes shape—revealing deceptions, secrets, and suspicious DNA—Lily appears alternately sinister and guileless through the eyes of those around her: the media, her family, the man who loves her and the man who seeks her conviction. With mordant wit and keen emotional insight, Cartwheel offers a prismatic investigation of the ways we decide what to see—and to believe—in one another and ourselves.
In Cartwheel, duBois delivers a novel of propulsive psychological suspense and rare moral nuance. No two readers will agree who Lily is and what happened to her roommate. Cartwheel will keep you guessing until the final page, and its questions about how well we really know ourselves will linger well beyond.“
Cartwheel: What I thought
I was expecting a mystery novel and what I got was more like a psychological novel and family relationships novel. That was fine with me. The story is told from the perspective of several people, and so, not a traditional mystery novel in which one (or two) people are researching a murder. In this case, the research was not focused on the murder so much, as on the accused.
That was Lily Hayes, who was having a good few months abroad in Argentina, when her room mate was killed. Lily could have done it, but equally, she could be totally innocent. Or innocent but involved.
In the book, the father, the sister and the prosecutor go and visit each other and other people involved, such as the rather odd neighbor, Sebastien. He’s young and rich and a kind of hermit, but Lily is attracted to him when they meet soon after she arrives in Argentina. Whether he is involved in the murder stays unclear for a long time, but it seems odd that the police arrested Lily, and not Sebastien.
What really happens doesn’t become clear for a while. And it’s not really important. This book is about a family dealing with the imprisonment of a daughter, and about a prosecutor, who needs to believe that Lily is guilty but sometimes has his doubts. But the cartwheel that Lily did in the interrogation room says it all for him: she doesn’t care about her room mate’s death.
Is it really that simple?
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (good)
Number of pages: 372
First published: 2013
I got this: from my Dutch rep for Random House US
Genre: contemporary fiction