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BOOK REVIEW: The Visitors Book by Sophie Hannah

| 18 December 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: The Visitors Book by Sophie Hannah

Sort of Books
December 2015
Hardcover, $19.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell



Within these pages you will find four stories, each with a slightly supernatural twist.

Victoria Scase’s boyfriend has a visitors book in his small apartment. A visitors book that bothers her on a level she can’t quite understand, but which her boyfriend is challenging her to sign.

He doesn’t sound angry. He sounds bored, as if it doesn’t matter to him; he’d quite like to win the argument but he isn’t emotionally invested in it. It makes me feel uneasy. So does the way he avoids my eye.

Jen notices a polite little boy has been left behind after her son Max’s birthday party.

Parents began to ring the doorbell again. When they asked if I knew where their particular child was, I forced myself not to say, ‘Oh, just take any. There are no individuals here. They’ve merged to form a rabble.’

Suzie starts seeing ghosts one day. But maybe they’re not really ghosts, because other people seem to see them but be unafraid of them…

They cross the street. The hem of the ghost’s coat touches my car as she passes. Neither woman looks at me through the windscreen; I only realise I was afraid they would – afraid she would – once it hasn’t happened. 

And Mel finds a confidant on the edge of the school oval; another mother who hates the rest of the mothers as much as she does, a woman who talks about ghosts and encourages Mel to mess with the other women.

Julie sighs heavily. ‘Don’t be thick, Mel. With cremation, the ashes are scattered and that’s it, job done. With burial, there’s a grave to be visited and tended week after week, year after year. There’s a … a site that needs to be maintained.’
Did I hear a note of pride in Julie’s voice? Is she actively looking forward to being a high-maintenance cadaver?


Each one of these stories is well written and interesting, showcasing the writing of someone with as many novels under their belt as Hannah. The telling of each is great – colloquial, easy to read, easy to relate to, with entertaining characters – and this reviewer is definitely interested in reading more of her work as a result. Sadly, the twists weren’t the most twisty or unpredictable. In fact most of the twists in this book could be seen early in the story, with the reader going along for the ride to find out if their theory was correct, though in some cases the twist did have another element that the reader didn’t see coming.

Overall this was a good, quick, and engaging read, and would be great for Hannah fans and an interesting introduction for people who are curious about her work, but it could have been a little more original.




Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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