The Untold by Courtney Collins

June 5, 2014 Contemporary Fiction 14

G’day Bookworms!

I just finished one of the most unique books I’ve read in a while. It’s set in Australia and narrated by a dead baby. And sometimes they eat kangaroos. Intrigued yet? I thought so. The Untold by Courtney Collins is truly something else. *I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through Netgalley.*

theuntoldJessie Hickman was a real woman who lived in Australia in the 1920s. Jessie’s life was one tragic adventure after another. By the age of 26, Jessie had lost her beloved father, run away from home, joined the circus, made a career stealing horses and cattle, and served a prison sentence for her wild ways. She was paroled into the arms of an abusive cattleman and dreamed of escape. Eventually, she escapes, but it’s not a straightforward disappear-into-the-night act. Once she’s on the run, Jessie is pursued by her lover… And the law.

I already mentioned that The Untold is told from the point of view of Jessie’s dead baby. I know that sounds really creepy, but it’s less bizarre than it sounds, I promise. After a traumatic premature birth, Jessie buries the baby in the Australian wilderness. The child then takes on the consciousness of the land… Because you don’t know that it couldn’t happen!

This  book was grittier than I expected, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve read American Westerns a time or three, so the idea of horsemen on the run and living off the land isn’t foreign to me. What was a little stranger, I must admit, is the cuisine Jessie and her crew were rustling up in the bush. Sure, they had rabbits and the occasional snake, but also kangaroo and wallaby. I’m sure that endangered species weren’t yet a thing, and survival is important, but kangaroos and wallabies? Sigh. At least nobody ate a penguin.

So. Who would like this book? If you’ve ever read and enjoyed a Western, aren’t creeped out by people eating kangaroo, and/or dig The Decemberists tune “Leslie Anne Levine“, The Untold could be the book for you!

Alright, Bookworms. The Untold has one of the most unique narrators ever. What characters have been your favorite narrators?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

14 Responses to “The Untold by Courtney Collins”

  1. Megan M.

    That sounds really different! I loved Death as the narrator in “The Book Thief” and the ghost narrator in “A Certain Slant of Light” by Laura Whitcomb.

  2. Jennine G.

    That is very unique! A little magical realism sounding almost. My all time favorite narrator is Death in The Book Thief. I was pretty disappointed he was cut so much from the movie.

    • Words For Worms

      It’s a little bit magical, I suppose, given the narrator, but otherwise not so much. Not Gabriel Garcia Marquez style magical realism, anyway.

  3. Athira

    This does sound very bizarre but also after reading that, it’s hard to say I am not interested. I’m going to put it on my radar. Since I don’t like Westerns, I’m not sure I’ll like it much, but we’ll see!

    • Words For Worms

      It’s one of those books that probably won’t be for everyone, but it’s definitely something different if you’re looking for a change of pace.

  4. Andi (@estellasrevenge)

    This actually sounds like a pretty good slump buster. Just something different for when I’m sick of the same old thing. I’ve had good luck with westerns in that context before!

    • Words For Worms

      LOL, I very nearly put the video in the post because the song and the book BELONG together. Although, The Decemberists are so amazing, half the time when a song pops into my head in relation to a book, it’s one of theirs. Can I crown them the perfect book nerd band? Do I have that power? And why do I keep putting off Colin Meloy’s book?

Talk to me, Bookworms!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.