The Red Book – Meaghan Delahunt

The Red Book

In a shutter click of time, how a life changes

One of my work colleagues lent me this novel to take on holiday – I didn’t read it while away but agree it would make a great holiday read. It has a serene and soulful feel about it without being at all heavy. It is about a journey, both geographically and personally. I like to read these types of books when there is time to really soak them up and take the time to look at things differently and be inspired.

Francoise sees in sounds, hears in colours and from a young age has been able to smell the passage of time. She “makes photos” for a living.

She travels from Australia to India for the 20 year anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy which had killed thousands in 1984. It had been the haunting photo of a child taken at the time that had inspired her to take up photography. Now she travels back to work on a project illustrating the long term effects of the tragedy on the area and its people 20 years on.

In Bhopal she meets Naga a Tibetan refugee and Arkay a Scottish Buddhist monk who is struggling with addiction. They are three real, raw, flaws and all people, who cross paths for a short time, impacting each others lives greatly.

Each chapter begins with the description of a photo Francoise has taken, a glimpse of the chapter to follow which is narrated by either Francoise, Arkay or Naga. In this way with the photos and the different points of view, we have a snapshot of each of their lives.

There comes a time when we can look at a photograph and not be undone by it

I felt the past fall away. All of it. There was only the presence. His struggle. There was only this moment. Beyond anger or sadness or sorrow

There are many beautiful passages in this story. It is a story of gentle acceptance, of what is and was and what is to come.

Published: 2008
Pages: 304
Challenges: Colourful reading challenge

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2 responses to “The Red Book – Meaghan Delahunt

  1. Great review! I’m really intrigued by this now. Thank you!

  2. Jackie – thank you. I hope you enjoy it – I will pop by to read your thoughts on it as you make your way through your new book tower!

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