STILL WATERS - Camilla Noli

Review Written By
Helen Lloyd

A stay-at-home mother of two small children is feeling trapped in her life. As a successful career woman she was used to being in control, but now she feels that control slipping away. The demands of caring for her children leave her constantly exhausted. She resents the attention her husband gives to the children, particularly the eldest, Cassie, with whom he is especially close. She is determined to get her life - and her husband - back, to make things the way they used to be. And she is willing to sacrifice anyone in the pursuit of her aims.

The main character, who is never named, is one of the most unlikeable characters I’ve ever read. She is cold, distant, self-centred and manipulative. In fact I really didn’t like any of the characters, including her husband. This may in part be due to the fact that we only see them through the eyes of the narrator, who seems to be scornful of almost everyone else. Even her intimate relationship with her husband is based on power and control.

The themes of this book are meant to be controversial, to challenge our beliefs of what mothers and motherhood should be like. But this woman is more than an exhausted new mother at the end of her tether, she is a seriously disturbed psychopath. Anyone who stands in the way of her regaining the life she wants, is dealt with one way or the other.

Noli writes well and kept me turning the pages, almost against my will, but I was very uncomfortable spending so much time inside the head of this cold-blooded woman. This was a deeply disturbing book, and not a pleasant read.

Camilla Noli lives on the Central Coast of NSW with her husband and children. This is her first novel.

Year of Publication

In the suburbs, a young mother is looking after her two children.  She has been a successful career woman in control of her life, sexually aware and used to attracting any man's undivided attention ... if she wanted to.

But now her control is slipping away.  Motherhood is devouring her identity.  Her two children depend on her and her husband adores her new role in the home.  He is no longer focused on her.  Her children are stealing his affection.  Her own desires are secondary to everyone else's.

She wants to reclaim her sense of self, her power.  Just because she is a mother doesn't mean she will protect those she is supposed to love.

For her, everything is conditional.  And everyone is in danger.

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