This is a difficult book to sum-up, but I’ll do my best!
Marc Laurent, having been taken hostage in Pakistan, receives a visitor every night. He is bound and blindfolded, and then a woman named Josephine comes to question him. To begin with, she only wants to know who to contact to ransom him, but soon her questions become more difficult, more probing, as she asks why he didn’t go home for his daughter, Claire’s, funeral. Josephine begins to tell Marc a story about his daughter’s life had she not been killed, and in turn Marc starts to tell his own stories about Claire’s life. As truth and fantasy become so mixed that Marc can no longer tell which is real, a father and daughter start finding ways to understand each other again.
All That’s Left to Tell is a compelling slow-burner, and truly fascinating. Like Marc, I found myself utterly pulled in by Josephine’s stories, and desperate to find out what happened to Claire despite knowing it wasn’t real. There are stories within stories and trying to work out which were true and decipher the meaning behind Josephine’s story-telling was both fun and frustrating.
Not knowing which parts were real and which were made-up made this book a unique read: mysterious, engaging and unlike anything I’ve read before. It is skilfully written and completely engrossing, despite the plot not being very eventful or exciting. I highly recommend it.