Sunday, October 18, 2020

"The Puzzle Women"

Anna Ellory is the author of two novels, The Rabbit Girls (2019) translated into 14 languages and The Puzzle Women (2020).

She has always been an avid reader and after becoming a mum she started writing too. Prior to this she worked as a nurse. In 2018 she completed an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. The Puzzle Women was written, in part, on this course.

She lives with her family, including a dog called Seth, and writes in pockets of borrowed time. She is currently working on her third novel.

Ellory applied the Page 69 Test to The Puzzle Women and reported the following:
Page 69 in The Puzzle Women is actually a title page indicating the reader is moving from the THEN 1989 section to NOW 1999, which is neither indicative or particularly interesting, so I turned the page and we meet:

Her fingers were blue with cold as she walked to the bus stop. She kept thinking, What would Roo do? She knew he would slow down and think hard, so she did.

She knew that buses took people to places they wanted to go, so she walked to a bus stop and took the bus to the station. Using her thinking head, she decided she was going to be more than what people thought she could be. She was going to find these puzzle women and she was going to put Mama’s notebook back together again.

And she was going to do this alone.

Once at the bus station, her first stop was to find the toilets. She asked a cleaning lady with a blue tabard and pink gloves, who smiled and took her all the way to the cubicle door. It was a smelly toilet, but after Lotte had a wee and washed her hands, she looked into the bathroom mirror and repeated the affirmation Roo had given her. ‘I am more than my Down’s syndrome. I am inde-pen-dent.’

Taking her time at the outgoing terminal of the bus station, she tried navigating the timetables, trying to fix words to times and places, but it was so complicated it made her want to cry. She didn’t even know what the word Zirndorf looked like. Instead of crying and going home, she thought about the puzzle women; how, maybe, they could bring the pages back for her. She could give them to Roo and Roo could tell her what they meant and she could miss Mama with him.
Lotte’s struggle is very clear here, her love for her brother and her desire to do something important independently. She is going to piece the torn pieces of Mama’s notebook back together, she sees this as a way to connect with her brother and know who Mama was. She is also on her way to The Puzzle Women who are piecing the shredded pages of the Stasi’s archives back together. Little does Lotte know that by going to these women for help, she is also taking a step into her past.

The page 69 test works perfectly for my book.
Visit Anna Ellory's website.

--Marshal Zeringue