Winner of the 2009 Victorian Premier's Literary Award, SUFFICIENT GRACE is a difficult book to categorise.
Told from the viewpoint of young Ruth, it's a story about life and survival in a brutal climate, in a brutal, bleak, religious community.
Presented particularly to this reader as a crime novel, I've struggled to get this categorisation to work effectively. Partly I suppose you could call this a psychological thriller, partly there is a small crime element to it, but ultimately it seemed more saga than anything else.
It's beautifully written, poetic almost lyrical in parts, but with a matter-of-factness which is soothing and chilling, all at once. All of which explains why the bleakness of the world that the girls, Ruth and her cousin Naomi inhabit seem even more stark and the existence of secrets and hidden lives perfectly believable. It is, however, talking about a life in which religion is overwhelming and family dynamics are everything - bad-apples and all. Not an area of reading that I'm personally ever drawn to.
It is, however, a book that has at its core, a story about life in a religious, closed, sheltered community. Self-sufficient, this is not a life that's neatly packaged and presented. There is brutal reality - in the way that animals are hunted / slaughtered, in the cover-ups. Not a book that you could call "enjoyable" SUFFICIENT GRACE is a book that many readers will find instructive, moving and very effective.