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The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald
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At the start of this book, Joanna, her partner Alistair and their 9 week old son Noah are at the airport waiting to fly from Scotland to Melbourne, where Alistair is from. The trip is part holiday, part opportunity for Alistair’s mother to meet her grandson and also in large part for Alistair to make a claim for custody of his 14 year old daughter Chloe, who lives in Australia with his first wife.

After landing in Australia, Noah goes missing; thereafter the story focusses on the resulting search and investigation into what happened to him. The parents, and in particular Joanna, come under close and mainly unkind public scrutiny with people speculating on Twitter, Facebook and in blog posts as to what has happened.

The story is told mainly from Joanna’s point of view (in the third person) and in Alistair’s ex-wife Alexandra’s point of view (in the first person). Alistair and Alexandra’s marriage broke up after his affair with Joanna and she is still bitter.

I enjoyed the book a lot and read it very quickly. I was surprised that the reader is told what happens to Noah straight away – as events unfold in fact – so whereas I was expecting a mystery where I would be kept in the dark as much as the characters, in fact it was more of a study of how people react and treat each other in the face of such a tragedy.

Although I raced through the book, it wasn’t without flaws – I felt that Joanna and Alexandra were fairly well drawn, but other than that, I only got the broadest sense of the rest of the characters. Alistair was almost a caricature, and deeply unlikeable.

Overall I would say that this book was satisfying at the time, but probably won’t stick in my memory for very long after I finished it. ( )
  Ruth72 | Mar 29, 2016 |
When we meet Joanna Lindsay, Alistair Robertson and their 9 week old son Noah they are experiencing a long, uncomfortable flight from Scotland, where they live, to Australia, where Alistair was born. Baby Noah cannot be settled and by flight’s end Joanna and her fellow passengers are frazzled, though Alistair has managed to get some sleep. During the couple’s drive from Melbourne airport to Alistair’s home town Noah goes missing which sparks a police investigation, a social media backlash against Joanna and trauma for Alistair’s ex-wife and teenage daughter.

After reading three of her books I’ve learned that Helen Fitzgerald can be extraordinarily cruel to the people she creates. Not ‘sadistic serial killer makes suits of human skin after lengthy torture sessions’ kind of cruel; rather she puts them through scenarios that are entirely believable in their ordinariness and totally horrific in their psychological impact. Here it is Joanna who is put through the wringer quite literally from the book’s very beginning to its bitter end and it is done with such skill and credibility that the reader cannot help but feel as if they too have lived through the woman’s harrowing experiences. For me this kind of tale – one where I can identify with the everyday situations in which the characters find themselves and can imagine the awfulness of the consequences when things go horribly wrong after a split second’s inattention or distraction – makes for a far more satisfying reading experience than the endless stream of serial killer tomes could ever do.

The structure of this novel works well too, offering several points of view though mainly that of Joanna and Alexandra (Alistair’s ex-wife). We get parts of the story from only one perspective and others are seen from both women’s viewpoint. Then there are the segments that show us what “the public” are thinking and saying through their tweets, blog posts and Facebook updates. As well as allowing an aspect of the story to be told inventively these snippets also offer some insight into the downside of this thoroughly modern phenomenon. The ease with which public opinions are made and changed based on rumour and ill-informed supposition is depicted very cleverly here.

THE CRY is an intelligent, surprising and totally compelling novel which I read in a single sitting (I’m not counting the several periods during which I put it down to make a nice, calming cup of tea as I soon hurried back on each such occasion). I won’t pretend it’s an easy read – especially for any new mums – but if you fancy an above average tale of psychological suspense during which you will often ponder how you would react (or have done) in the same circumstances then I highly recommend THE CRY.
  bsquaredinoz | Dec 24, 2013 |
The Cry tells the story of baby Noah's 'disappearance' and how his mother and father, Joanna and Alistair, deal with it. The story begins on a plane from Scotland to Australia when Noah is fractious and Joanna is finding him difficult to deal with. Alistair, however, is the epitome of calm. These roles are carried on throughout the whole of the story, with Joanna appearing unhinged and Alistair being in complete control.

I can't say much more about the story without giving it all away so I won't, but I did think this was a really good read. It's very quick and easy to get through, especially on a Kindle when it seemed like I was constantly pressing the button to change the page. I enjoyed the characterisations, other important people being Alistair's ex-wife, Alexandra, and their teenage daughter, Chloe.

The story unfolds cleverly, and everything you think you know as a reader is turned on its head. I never really felt this was an intense psychological thriller, it's more of a look at mind games and influence over people. I'd read more by this author. ( )
  nicx27 | Dec 15, 2013 |
Anybody who has flown a long flight, say Glasgow to Dubai, in the company of a small child, or been sitting near one, can empathise with the situation when the child constantly cries. That's where we start with Joanna and Alistair and their baby Noah. For Joanna this becomes the trip from hell, although Alistair seems to be able to sleep through it all. The second leg of the journey from Dubai to Melbourne is only a little better.

The journey starts badly at departure when airport security declares that the bottles that Joanna's antibiotics and Noah's Calpol are too big. That leads Joanna into making a crucial error.

The family is on its way to Melbourne so that Alistair can claim custody of his teenage daughter from his ex-wife who brought Chloe back to Australia illegally. When Noah goes missing from the car when they are driving to Geelong, the custody of Chloe still looms large for Alistair in particular. It becomes even more crucial when Noah remains missing.

This story twists in directions the reader just couldn't predict. The general public becomes involved in the search for Noah not only through media releases but also through social networking like Facebook and Twitter. Joanna and her reactions to her baby's disappearance come under public scrutiny, with the rumour mill coming perilously close to the truth.

Although firmly set in Australia (Joanna and Alistair land in Melbourne when small towns near Geelong are threatened by bushfires) the setting could almost be anywhere and Helen Fitzgerald has the reader asking how they would have reacted in similar circumstances.

A really good read, touching issues that go well beyond the disappearance of a baby. ( )
  smik | Oct 22, 2013 |
The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald is a dark, disturbing tale of guilt, innocence, truth and lies which held me in thrall from start to finish.

This thrilling psychological drama delves into every parent’s worst nightmare, nine week old Jonah is gone and nothing his mother, Joanne, can do will bring him back to her. She wonders is she is being punished for her affair with Noah’s father, Alistair, who was still married when she began seeing him, or for her impatience and anger with Noah’s endless crying on the plane journey from London to Australia, but no matter the ‘why’, Joanna blames herself.

I am loathe to give away any hint of the gripping twists and turns that awaits the reader in this engrossing novel. The plot is skillfully crafted to both reveal and conceal the truth and lies that surround baby Noah’s fate. Nothing is ever quite as it seems and I couldn’t help but race through the pages until The Cry reached its stunning conclusion.

The characters are complex, real but deeply flawed in the way we all are. How you feel about these people, Joanna, Alistair and Alexandra changes facades begin to crack under the strain of uncertainty and secrets revealed.

Heartbreaking, shocking and utterly gripping The Cry has been added to my list of favourite novels for 2013. ( )
  shelleyraec | Sep 8, 2013 |
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Book description
He's gone.
And telling the truth won't bring him back...


When a baby goes missing on a lonely roadside in Australia, it sets off a police investigation that will become a media sensation and dinner-table talk across the world.

Lies, rumours and guilt snowball, causing the parents, Joanna and Alistair, to slowly turn against each other.

Finally Joanna starts thinking the unthinkable: could the truth be even more terrible than she suspected? And what will it take to make things right?

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0571287700, Paperback)

He's gone. And telling the truth won't bring him back...When a baby goes missing on a lonely roadside in Australia, it sets off a police investigation that will become a media sensation and dinner-table talk across the world. Lies, rumours and guilt snowball, causing the parents, Joanna and Alistair, to slowly turn against each other. Finally Joanna starts thinking the unthinkable: could the truth be even more terrible than she suspected? And what will it take to make things right? The Cry is a dark psychological thriller with a gripping moral dilemma at its heart and characters who will keep you guessing on every page. "Fitzgerald is dark, clever, highly inventive". (Lovereading.co.uk). "FitzGerald excels at twisting the reader's expectations and turning our assumptions on their heads". (The List).

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:50 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Lies, rumours and guilt snowball, causing the parents, Joanna and Alistair, to slowly turn against each other. Finally Joanna starts thinking the unthinkable: could the truth be even more terrible than she suspected? And what will it take to make things right?… (more)

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