'Melanie Finn's second novel lives up to the promise of her first. Shame pulls off the feat of being both chilling and redemptive. She explores vast themes - the solitude of bereavement, the eternal nature of maternal love, the irony of fate - with a light, deft touch'
One of TATLER'S SIZZLING SUMMER READS 'A thought-provoking novel . . . deftly set in a world of mercenaries, philanthropists and witch doctors in polyester suits, the book asks how one atones for atrocity'
'[An] intriguing story... The novel details a woman's exile to Tanzania, where she hopes to find a new life away from Switzerland, her husband's infidelity and, most tragically of all, a car accident that leaves her responsible for the death of three children. In its short, single-scene chapters, and in the toggling between flashbacks to the woman's early life and the current African moment, the influence of another form is obvious: cinema... Compelling.'
'There's an eerie, existential quality about Melanie Finn's new novel, Shame. What tiny, mundane choices determine our fate?... A paean by an Old Africa Hand to a magical continent of silent forests, slow, dark rivers, wild green mangroves; a world populated by child ghosts, haunted whites and AK-47-toting rebels. It is through this heart of darkness, a landscape rich in possibilities, that Pilgrim stumbles towards the light.'
'This is one of those novels that can make others feel uniform, of a kind... The exceptionally vivid physical setting and sense of Africa's deprivation and abundance is echoed in Pilgrim Jones's psychological journey. At times I was caught between feeling I could hardly bear to read on whilst at the same time being unable to put the book down. Uniquely raw and wrenching, as traumatic as it is beautiful, this is a novel of emotional depth and wisdom in which the quality of the prose lights up even the darkest moments.'
PICK OF THE WEEK 'Full of empathy and intelligence, this novel is a study of the shame, guilt and despair that can result from nothing more than desperately bad luck. With no shadow of didacticism or propaganda, it explores the nuances of our moral choices in a postcolonial context. The ending is startlingly optimistic and very moving.'
'Arresting - Finn conjures up Africa perfectly'
'A brilliantly written account of a soul in torment and the way she is pursued by her own fate. Finn evokes the darkness and light of Africa with the same sureness that she calls forth the brightness and shadow of the human heart'
'Haunting and atmospheric - I was completely hooked'
So powerful, brutal and haunting. There are scenes that will just stay in the memory, the birth scene in particular was just incredible. Absolutely brilliant
'Shame, a second novel by Melanie Finn, deserved more recognition than it received. Her Africa is one I recognise, neither sentimental nor sensationalised. Finn has a light, deft touch as a writer, but the images she conjures up are so subversively creepy they haunt you for days'
I rarely get as invested in the outcome of a novel as I did reading Shame . . . These characters could be us
'This unsparing tale captivates and intrigues in equal measure. Exploring guilt, despair and atonement, its vivid prose draws the reader into a powerful web of tragedy.'
AN EDITOR'S CHOICE PICK '[A] richly textured, intricately plotted novel . . . Finn's prose is cool and precise'
Finn is a remarkably confident and supple storyteller . . . [her] novel deserves major attention