Liberation moves between the past and present in Adriana Rundel’s life. On the day after her 70th birthday party, Adriana is riding a commuter train and thinking about her childhood on Italy’s isle of Elba. She was ten during World War II, and remembers hiding under the kitchen sink for fear of being found during the island’s occupation.
During some daytime restlessness, young Adriana sneaks outside and discovers an injured boy. Amdu Diop is a Senegalese 17-year-old AWOL soldier. Adriana helps Amdu, who takes refuge in the family home. The pair form a bond and the innocent beginnings of first love.
This war-time past is mixed with Adriana’s current situation. She collapses while riding the commuter train. She provides narration of the present events, observing the other passengers’ reactions outside her own unconsciousness.
Author Joanna Scott (Tourmaline) deftly combines the two story lines. Adriana’s childhood is the most interesting portion of the book, but her current health status commands readers’ attention toward events of the present day.
The vivid setting descriptions present in Tourmaline are also evident in Liberation. Images of Elba, presented through Adriana’s young eyes, are bight despite the darkness of war-time occupation. Interesting characters and events makes this novel a good choice for those who like a deeper, more thought-provoking level of fiction. Liberation is a literary trip to another time and place.