For the third time this week he is watching her scream. Watching, not listening. Rebecca Laurence is centre stage and shining in her role as Ophelia. She pivots, rotating like a ballerina impaled in a musical box, red hair cascading down her back. Amidst the thundering applause, one man is watching.
Rebecca meets the charismatic Seth Gardner, and as attraction grows between them, he invites her to join his Friday Folly, a group of artistic friends. But as Rebecca is drawn into the web of tangled relationships all is not as it appears. The scene is set for the night that will rip the group apart.
Consumed by loss and surrounded by secrets, Rebecca must escape the grip of the Folly to have any chance of saving herself. Meanwhile, one man continues to watch.
“People like us. People who wring every last drop from life instead of running away from it”
Seth Gardner, The Untouchable Things – Tara Guha
The cover was the first thing that drew me to this book, it captured my attention, insisting I purchase it there and then and that I did, not knowing how much the story between the pages would affect me after peeling back each layer of this complex tale scene by scene.
The story revolves around a group of like minded people, brought together by talent, the arts and the culture of their lives. The leader, the man at the top, Seth Gardner spies them, saves them and collects them. The ever charismatic Seth with his magnetic current churning away at the souls of his prey, those who adore him, those who depend upon him and those who love him.
But, who is he, this charming fellow? Seth, the name on all of the characters lips? who wants to know? and why? but the police, they are involved of course, asking the questions and telling the tale through each and every one of them.
The layers within this tale run deep, you must allow this story to embrace you, imagine you are each character in turn, feel their emotions, tensions and strains and breathe their very breath.
There is a valuable tale, a morale to this story hidden within one layer or another, the one that congratulates you for being brave enough to kick the addiction and free yourself from the filthy habit you depend upon to survive.
Guha has written around a strong cast of individuals male and female, strong, weak, resilient and needing, each have a lifeline connected to Seth in their own way and need that connection to make them feel whole, each have their secrets as a group, as individuals and as does Seth himself, this happy group of friends is just the facade to hide the cracks of the imperfect lives they believe to be living underneath, drowning in their own underwhelming reality and tasting the fear of coming undone, of giving up hope of losing the bond, all as the puppet master pulls his strings manipulating his friends one by one.
Noted throughout the story are three different types of writing from very different points of view, the ones from each character in turn, the one from the police (we assume) asking the questions and the one as the reader watching the play unfold and acts continue to roll on. Parts are written as a script the one we read to keep our place in the play, keeping up pace with each character as they play their part.
Underneath all the tangled web of friendship, theatre and talent there lies something deeper, something in the shadows that slowly filters from the binding of the book it takes the hue of the flamed red tresses and translucent skin, a broken relationship and the distortion of a time gone by, it creeps slowly and eventually when it rears it ugly head you realise just how deep the layers really are.
I would love to see this story a film, one of those intense thrillers that leave you with the ‘oh’ when the finale lands. Benedict Cumberbatch would be prime to play Seth Gardner, in my minds eye he has been playing Seth all the way through the book.
I haven’t read a book like this before
I would certainly read one like it again. I can not recommend it enough, maybe it resonates with my individuality or flair for embracing life, it struck a cord and a small piece will stay with me forever. I cannot wait for more works from Tara Guha, if this was her debut, an amazing piece of writing whatever will she present next.