HATTIE is a beautifully written and amazing, if not somewhat sad story. The heroine, Hattie, tells in small snippets and episodes of her life as a washer woman, mother and wife, a life full of tragedy, hardship and abuse… It is a story of a selfless and pragmatic woman who gets on with her life without questioning her life and without giving up hope despite an abundance of tragedy…
We learn about Hattie’s childhood… and how it shaped her into the person she has become. We know from the first page onwards that Hattie dies drowning and the theme of being overrun by waves of tragedy and by external forces runs through her life, yet we rarely get the sense of Hattie being a victim. The story is told in a naive and child-like voice that can be shockingly honest and to the point, sometimes sentimental, sometimes determined and often inspirational.
One of the key snippets in the novel for me was a little story about a dog, who contemplates that it is not its own master. ‘What do I have’ it asks and there are several thought provoking snippets like this in the book that make this an almost philosophical read…. The writing is beautiful and entrancing. The author shows a great skill in making us feel the pain without resorting big or explicit drama. The worst is hinted at and implied, feminist themes are also incorporated with subtlety and we are left to take it in on our own. I was completely drawn into the book and Hattie stayed with me long after I had finished reading. The book is a great achievement, I read a lot but this certainly stood out for me.
Christoph Fischer author of The Luck of the Weissensteiners