Monday, December 19, 2011

The Report. A Novel by Jessica Francis Kane

The Report.  A Novel by Jessica Francis Kane

In 1943, a horrible accident takes place in a London air-raid shelter.  No bombs fell the night of March 3, when 173 people died in a deadly crush in Bethnal Green.  The accident leaves a grieving community in the midst of wartime without any answers and lots of questions.  If there were no bombs, how did 173 people die in an air-raid shelter?

One person makes a misstep or a temporary fault in judgement on that fateful night and the ramifications cause the community to demand a investigation.  The Report is the fictional investigation into the possible details of the accident.

 Kane uses the actual report written by Laurence Dunne in 1943 and writes a novel that probes the tragedy with style and grace.  The Report is told in two interconnecting story lines, one takes place 30 years after the accident, where a film maker who was a child in the tragedy, interviews the aging Laurie Dunn.  The other is of The Report being written and interviews with survivors being conducted so Dunn can piece together the small events that led to the culminating tragedy and release his findings to the community. 

The Report draws the reader in with intensity and keeps the reader involved throughout the story.   The investigation and interviews with the survivors are well done and intriguing.  The changes within the Bethnal Green community are reflected in the lives of the survivors as the story unfolds leading the reader to think about how our personal tragedies change us.

Look closely at the cover of the book.  Both the front and back covers show pictures of people underground in the air-raid Tube station shelter.  I love the cover and the details about the shelter in The Report.  The story of the book is fascinating on so many different levels.
The Report is published by a local Minnesota press called Graywolf Press.  

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