Posted on September 22, 2013 - by katy
Corgi, Random House, 2012
Diana Hendry captures the essence of this sleepy postwar seaside village with accomplished brilliance. Lizzie finds life in Norton stifling and dull, and her comfortable “on the up” family life embarrassing in its opulence. Her sister Lal is soon to be married, and Lizzie feels left behind. Then one day a new girl arrives at school – Natalie, with her wild hair, who wears plimsolls without socks, and goes everywhere with her strange little brother, Philip. Lizzie craves excitement, but it turns out that what Natalie offers is a great deal more than than that, because Natalie is convinced that there are Left-Over Nazis hiding everywhere – Nazis just like those who left her father to die in a prisoner of war camp – and so begins a sinister and very dangerous game.
But Natalie isn’t Lizzie’s only new friend this summer – Hugo the artist has returned to his yellow beach caravan as he does every year, befriending both Lizzie and Philip. To a twenty-first century reader, alarm bells immediately ring – is Hugo going to take advantage of them in some sort of terrible way? Nothing is simple in this novel, however, and you are left questioning your own assumptions and trying to piece together the entire picture without being guided to a definitive conclusion by the author.
Subtle, strange, and sinister – The Seeing offers no simple answers, and Diana Hendry treats her readers with great respect. This is a wonderful novel that comes highly recommended from me, and it’s not just the Fifties setting that makes this book read like a classic.