MY NAME IS MARY SUTHERLAND by Kate Farrell, PS Publishing, h/b £12, Signed and numbered £25, Website
Review by Christopher Teague
Kate Farrell is a name that I’ve occasionally seen within the ToC’s of anthologies over the last couple of years, yet I don’t think I’ve actually read any of her stories. This, her debut novella, has changed all that.
Mary Sutherland is a troubled young woman who resides within a mental institution – the reason the reader is unsure of, except to say that it is of great importance for a journalist who interviews Mary throughout the story, interspersed with letters to her estranged father.
It is safe to assume that Mary is autistic and as such she is an unreliable witness, but her story is gradually and slowly revealed, like the removal of the peel from the proverbial onion.
Mary is also a victim, again evident from the testimony, which when coupled with the denouement of the tale gives the reader an emotional headache: is it okay for us to feel pity for her?
Farrell’s Mary is an incredibly detailed person, with the occasional moment of pitch black humour. with one of the most shocking and horrific endings you will discover – told through the eyes of Mary, whose only thoughts are of kindness.
What, though, the author’s bio does give you is just how detailed the character is; Farrell’s background in acting makes Mary a character any actor would love to perform.
Quite simply, if you love horror fiction where the tale is revealed very slowly and gradually with each turn of the page, then this should definitely be on your reading list.
Special mention must also go to Vincent Chong for one of the best wraparound book covers I’ve seen.