Synopses & Reviews
Olivia arrives at her mother?s chateau in rural France (the first time in more than a decade) with her two young children in tow. Soon the family is joined by Olivia?s brother Marcus and his wife Sophie?but this reunion is far from joyful. After years of desperately wanting a baby, Sophie has just given birth to a stillborn child, and she is struggling to overcome her devastation. Meanwhile, Olivia wrestles with her own secrets about the cruel and violent man she married many years before. Exquisitely written and reminiscent of Ian McEwan and J. M. Coetzee, Disquiet
is a darkly beautiful and atmospheric story that will linger in the mind long after the final page is turned.
"Leigh follows her internationally acclaimed The Hunter with a haunting family drama tightly packed into a tense novella. Olivia, referred to primarily (and somewhat affectedly) as 'the woman,' has fled her abusive husband with her two sharp-tongued young children. She seeks refuge at her mother's chateau in France, which she left on bad terms to get married 12 years earlier. Soon after Olivia's unexpected arrival, her brother shows up with his wife, Sophie, and the body of their stillborn child. Although the plot feels a bit slight, there is great emotional weight and disturbing imagery, as Sophie wanders aimlessly, still wearing her hospital ID bracelet and carrying her lifeless daughter in her arms as if the baby were a doll. The chateau is an ideal gothic setting for the morbid events that occur over the course of several days; indeed, there is only one scene that takes place off the chateau's grounds, infusing the novel with an unsettling atmosphere of claustrophobia. Death and impending death reign, but Leigh also paints a subtle portrait of a broken family trying to piece itself back together." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A powerful and disquieting novella, a work of fiction so infused with the practices of film that, while each scene is fully and even vividly realized in words, it also translates quite naturally into film, into a visually rich action taking place before the inner eye.
J. M. Coetzee, Nobel Prize-winning author of Disgrace
This is a writer with terrifying control of the dreamscape. And, yes, those are the ones to watch out for.
The Los Angeles Times
Ian McEwans Atonement comes to mindbut Leigh has a hypnotic power all her own.
Leigh sustains the tension between life and death until the very end. It's difficult to imagine a reader who will not be electrified by this haunting, masterfully told story. Indeed, it's difficult to imagine a reader who will not be changed by it.
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Artfully fulfilling the promise or threat of its title, the tale exudes a chill moonlight beauty, a tribute to the finesse of its author, Julia Leigh.
The Boston Globe
[Leighs] mentor was the Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, and this gothic little book is the result of that pairing.
Olivia arrives at her mother's chateau in rural France--the first time in more than a decade--with her two young children in tow. Soon the family is joined by Olivia's brother Marcus and his wife Sophie--but this reunion is far from joyful, in this exquisitely written, atmospheric story.
About the Author
Julia Leigh was born in Sydney, Australia. Her writing has been compared to Melville and Conrad (San Francisco Chronicle), and she was included in the London Observer's list of 21 writers for the 21st century.