Culture & Criticism Since 2003
It’s very rare for first-time fiction to break any ground, so very rare for a novelist’s debut to catch a reader by surprise. However, Rosemary McLoughlin’s fist book is definitely worth some notice – a bold undertaking that blends a captivating plot and sharp characterizations with prose that captures the true emotion of the story. Tyringham Park compels the reader’s immediate attention: A tiny child named Victoria Blackshaw disappears into thin air. As pages quickly turn, McLoughlin throws the audience into the aftermath of the disappearance as we come to examine the way an isolated moment in time can shape the steps of the generations that follow. Be aware, this is a deep novel that delves into the psyches of its characters with defiant urgency as they collectively confront the reasons why they now wear these faces. As a critic, I’ve always graded fiction by whether a novel has that special intangible that causes me to look at my own life, pushing me to uncover something new about my own face. Tyringham Park is such a book; it’s the kind of book that carries an impact long after you’ve turned down the last page.