Josephine Hart Sin

ISBN 13: 9780099592211

Sin

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9780099592211: Sin

Ruth smiles, but beneath the surface nurses a hatred as powerful as the sea, and as sharp as the coldest of blades. The object of Ruth's malevolence is her cousin, Elizabeth - orphaned at nine months and raised by Ruth's parents as their own - whose very presence stole Ruth's birthright as only child. From this twisted sense of betrayal grows an envy, dark as night, from which there can be but one refuge: Elizabeth's destruction.

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Product Description:

A revenger's tragedy of lust, cruelty and betrayal'I believe now that I was exposed too early to goodness and that I never recovered,' says Ruth, a beautiful woman possessed by a terrible envy. From small acts of malevolence, she is drawn into a maelstrom of destruction, where innocence and goodness are no defence.

Review:

Sin, like Josephine Hart's third novel The Stillest Day, is an explicitly cautionary tale. Ruth Ashbridge is, from childhood, obsessively jealous of her orphaned cousin Elizabeth. At first, her envy leads her into only minor misbehaviour--adopting her smile, stealing her jewellery and silk underwear. Yet these small thefts quickly escalate into major transgressions as Ruth sets about stealing Elizabeth's husband and her happiness.

The confessional nature of Hart's first-person narrative suits the outpouring of hatred and envy. Ruth's position is succinctly summed up: "Like Satan before the Fall, I came to hate the very nature of goodness, to fear its power." However, her emotion is occasionally overemphasised and the descriptions of her overwrought, resulting in Ruth sounding unintentionally comic. She says of her own marriage to Dominick: "We were balanced. His love. My coldness."

With Sin, Josephine Hart aims to create a modern biblical parable. In order to foreground the didactic content of her novel, Hart keeps characterisation to a minimum, shunning the complex psychology and narrative tension of her first novel Damage. In Hart's world, sin--succumbing to an impulse in complete disregard of its consequences--leads inescapably to tragedy. Through that tragedy, the heroine will learn too late the true value of goodness. --Vanessa Cook

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