Finally I was able to finish a book that I have been dying to talk about for some time.
Touch by the wonderful Claire North is an adult sci-fi mystery novel that follows Kepler, the being without a face or a body of their own. Kepler is not a male or a female, Kepler does not die and Kepler’s name is not Kepler. In this novel North imagines a world where a separate species of life is able to jump between human hosts by nothing more than a touch of skin. This book is a whirlwind race across the world through different lives, different loves and different faces.
If you know anything about me as a book worm you will also know that Claire North is one of my all time favourite authors without any shadow of a doubt. Seemingly effortlessly, she weaves fine tapestries of weird and whimsical tales into stories that feel bold and true. Touch did not fall short of my expectations.
Kepler, like all of North’s anti heroes, was both extremely intelligent and extremely interesting. The writer creates a wealth of nooks and crannies and corners of detail within the houses of her cast that stitch together and intermingle into words that become real people. From the multiple languages Kepler spoke to the past lives in past bodies she recalled it was fascinating to get inside the head of a character who is eternal and eternally lonely in their most unique set of circumstances.
I have always said that North has an enormous grasp on the world despite realistically never being able to have visited all of the places that we visit inside of her books. She is a purveyor of the small details. Like the smell of a train station in a French city or the colour of the trees in a German city. All of these rivulets of information, big and small, bind together into a more full and vivid image that feels nostalgic despite being the first time read.
Lastly, I’d like to comment on the plot. Obviously everything I have said so far has been positive and I would like to finish with a positive ending too which thankfully due to the stunning plot of this book I am able to do. I won’t give spoilers but North’s grasp on mystery and thrill is bespoke. She understands how to play with narratives and dance with time all within the confines of a couple hundred pages and for that I commend her greatly.
I largely enjoy the books I review because I always vet them out before starting but for this book I can’t say I enjoyed it. I can only say I loved it.
I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars.
Keep on reading!
And thanks again Beth.