Mazarine

mazarine-cover"Grimshaw's focus is always on the psychology of her characters and the societies they inhabit.... Grimshaw goes much further than simply dissecting an unreliable narrator. By various cunnning strategies, she raises the whole question of how well we can really know other people, and how much our perceptions of them are simply so many 'fictions.'" - Sunday Star-Times

From award-winning author Charlotte Grimshaw, this is a beautifully evocative, sensual portrayal of a woman's search for freedom and love.

When her daughter vanishes during a heatwave in Europe, writer Frances Sinclair embarks on a hunt that takes her across continents and into her own past. What clues can Frances find in her own history, and who is the mysterious Mazarine? Following the narrative thread left by her daughter, she travels through cities touched by terrorism and surveillance, where ways of relating are subtly changed, and a startling new fiction seems to be constructing itself.

 

" Despite its mystery story structure, Mazarine is more a character study, a commentary on the way identity is constructed and a critique of the art of writing fiction itself. It is however, the thread of the mystery story that will probably keep most readers turning the pages."  - Reid's Reader

 

https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/standing-room-only/audio/2018639602/the-indefinable-charlotte-grimshaw

 

"Grimshaw's novels always deliver tension, intrigue, drama. Her stories are contemporary...and packed with plot. Serious doesn't mean po-faced though. Mazarine bristles with life and is full of sensations, humour, rippling interchanges and sudden poetry...It comments on society, not gauchely, but in passing glances and subtle asides. Grimshaw cares about the world we live in and asks us to care, too."  - The New Zealand Listener

 

"Reading Charlotte Grimshaw is always a huge delight, sinking as she does into a place of implication, indirectness and suggestions of the sinister. With her multiple storylines and layers, as well as the intensity and paranoia of her characters, Grimshaw's work often strays near David Lynch-type territory.... Mazarine ups the psychological layers of content into an extremely confusing place, where characters and their motivations are contradictory, unsure and yet persistent.... Doctorow's epigraph staes that every time a writer composes a book, their composition of themselves is at stake... Grimshaw is always unnerving as she digs into what it might be to lose someone else, or even to lose oneself. " - The Otago Daily Times

 

"At once domestic drama, psychological thriller - underscored with a buzzing note of menace about global terrorism and the surveillance state - and a sort of sensual coming-of-age tale, Grimshaw picks and chooses which tropes from each style to use and which to let lie. It's a brilliant and disconcerting strategy....The story is always fleshed out by Grimshaw's sensory and finely detailed sketches of people and place....whether her writing is prophetic or she's just really quick on the draw at spinning it into her novels, the parallels between the politics of her characters' personal lives and the politics playing out on a global scale is where Grimshaw's genius lies. There is much justified love for the New Zealand political satire of her earlier novels, along with their familiar cast of recurring characters, but by flinging Mazarine's cast onto the world stage, she forces them into confrontation with our current preoccupations: tyrants around the dinner table and in parliament, fake news inside our heads and out - trying to figure out who we should be in a world where truth and reality seem less certain than ever before. "  - Charlotte Graham-McLay The Spinoff

 

"There's an air of ambiguous menace right from the start of Mazarine. More worrying than the chance encounter, Frances's daughter, Maya, travelling on the other side of the globe, has lost contact with her mother. The increasingly lengthy silence becomes increasingly worrying for Frances... In her customary deft prose, Grimshaw unspools this dryly ironic tale of international connections and the threads that bind us all through the intimate labyrinth the world has become. The themes weave in and out of the action seamlessly..." - North & South 

 

"In an era where ‘fake’ news creates a sense of ongoing insecurity about what’s real and what isn’t, Grimshaw exploits this by having, at the core of her novel, not only a novel-writing narrator who is unreliable, but a semi-intrusive author. . . . Grimshaw is playing with what literature can and cannot do. She is reminding us that fiction is always a lie, a story told that asks you to suspend disbelief. . . . I was left marvelling, not only at Grimshaw’s ferocious talent, but at her gall, her audaciousness, her mischievous ability to play with a reader’s expectations of fiction. Nothing is set up that can’t be kicked sideways. Paradox, smoke and mirrors, equivocation: things are not what they seem. And there’s always that feeling that there’s a sly joke at the heart of it. . . . This is an intensely readable, indeed engrossing, very filmic novel. It’s very likely to be prize-winning…. While its message is that we’re living in times of great chaos, the novel mirroring this exists as a terrifying, memorable whole. I ended it feeling like a pathetic, panting puppy, my brain an unwelcome tangle. I applaud someone with the talent of the redoubtable Grimshaw, playing in a most timely manner with what is fiction and what isn’t." - Linda Burgess, Landfall

 

"Award winning author Charlotte Grimshaw is a wonderful descriptive writer... This is a complex read, in which the author touches on many modern issues, brining them together in a gripping novel which has enough mystery to keep the reader guessing until the end. " - Booksellers NZ

 

" ...as a writer she is constantly reworking the narrative of her life into fiction, and questioning the nature of truth and reality... Grimshaw's dialogue expertly captures the hidden patterns of everyday conversation, and she evokes mood and place brilliantly, from a rain-lashed, wintry Auckland to stifling heat in central London... Following her can be a confusing journey, but the high quality of Grimshaw's writing makes it worth the effort. "  - NZ Herald 

 

"Mazarine is an ambitious novel, if only because it is being asked to bear an awful lot of weight. Only a writer of Grimshaw’s ability could pull it off: she is an effortless prose writer, a superb manager of narrative." - New Zealand Books Quarterly Review


"I hate to say it, but Mazarine is a women's book. The female preoccupations are revolting." - Celebrated old male UK publisher