By Julia Leigh
Disquiet is a tiny book with an enormous footprint.
It starts with a reunion but there’s nothing happy about it. It starts with a birth that quickly turns into a funeral which keeps getting delayed. It’s about neglect, abuse, ambivalence, and sadness so deep it’s all consuming that it brings everything and everyone to a halt.
Olivia shows up at her mother’s house in rural France with her two children who have never met their grandmother. She’s running away from her abusive husband and has no place left to go. Upon answering the door, her mother informs her that her brother, Marcus, and his wife Sofie, will be moving in with their new baby. She expects the two to arrive with the child at any moment. Unfortunately, the homecoming of Marcus and Sofie is a tragic one — the baby is stillborn. Sofie treats the child as if it it were still alive and refuses to bury the baby causing everyone in the house great distress. Her behavior is disturbing and wrenchingly sad as the same time. You feel horrible for her and at the same time want her to say goodbye and let the child go.
In a short amount of time, several lives collide and no one knows what to do or is in any position to take control leaving you feeling just as disturbed, scared, sick, hurt, and as crazy as everyone in this book.
Disquiet is an amazing book. There are no frilly descriptions, no soft language to cover any of the harsh realities of life, and, at the end, you feel the need for a warm smile and possibly even a hug. Leigh is a fantastic writer. If you see her book, pick it up.