The Fragments

Toni Jordan

The Fragments
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The Fragments

Toni Jordan

From the award-winning, bestselling author of Addition and Nine Days, a superbly crafted and captivating literary mystery about a lost book and a secret love.

Inga Karlson died in a fire in New York in the 1930s, leaving behind three things: a phenomenally successful first novel, the scorched fragments of a second book-and a literary mystery that has captivated generations of readers.

Nearly fifty years later, Brisbane bookseller Caddie Walker is waiting in line to see a Karlson exhibition featuring the famous fragments when she meets a charismatic older woman. The woman quotes a phrase from the Karlson fragments that Caddie knows does not exist-and yet to Caddie, who knows Inga Karlson’s work like she knows her name, it feels genuine.

Caddie is electrified. Jolted her from her sleepy, no-worries life in torpid 1980s Brisbane she is driven to investigate: to find the clues that will unlock the greatest literary mystery of the twentieth century.    

Review

Toni Jordan’s latest novel, The Fragments, holds within its pages a fable-like fervour for the written word. Using parallel stories which both have the theme of loss at their core, Jordan has created a unique and wonderful plot. One story centres on the life of reclusive and world-famous New York author Inga Karlson, who becomes victim to a terrible fire. Fragments of Karlson’s second novel are all that survive this heartbreaking disaster. The other tale, set in Brisbane in the heat of summer, examines the life of bookseller and former academic Caddie Walker.

These stories are brought together when Caddie makes it her mission to solve the mystery surrounding the remains of the Karlson’s novel. In doing so, Caddie learns to trust her instinct and integrity. Jordan depicts the nuances of bookselling without ever resorting to romantic platitudes, and counterbalances that world with the tragedies of hidden love that entwine both stories. The Fragments is a mystery that spans cities, class, people and timezones, and it’s a page-turner with plot developments transpiring right to the very last pages.

Admirably, not only is this a delightful novel, but Jordan’s story also illustrates the impact and power an author’s work can have on its readers. How wonderful it is when the world gathers in awe of published work. If you love reading Jane Harper or Holly Throsby or indeed Jordan’s other novels, this is the perfect weekend read. The Fragments is undoubtedly Jordan’s finest work to date.


Chris Gordon is the events manager for Readings.

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