Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The ambiguous title really has nothing to do with the book itself, an epistolary novel set in the UK with "Zoe" writing to Stuart, a killer on death row in America, about her role killing a guy. So of course my first thought was "unreliable narrator." Is it a spoiler to say that's not the case?
What we get is the past year and a half (or so) of "Zoe's" life, the two boys she falls in love with (luckily, not portrayed as your typical love triangle) and what happens next. Did she kill "Max"? What about the upheavals her family encounters: will they survive intact? How will this affect her future? Each letter starts in the present, with a description of (among other things), his crime, the weather and a spider and then moves to the past and the story that she feels compelled to spill to someone, even if it's someone who can't ever respond (not because he's on death row in another country but because she's using a fake name and address).
And that's why this was only three stars. The letters are interesting but ultimately readers will wonder why. It doesn't really seem that there's any catharsis reached, and the Big Name Reveal at the end doesn't quite make sense if there isn't. But perhaps that goes with my expecting there to be a different type of narration and others won't feel the same.
ARC provided by publisher.