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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > MARCH 2017 > Haunted house

Haunted house

Jean McNeil’s new novel addresses political and emotional violence in a fictional African country

FICTION

The Dhow House

Jean McNeil

ECW Press

EVERYWHERE WE go broadcasts a message, a current of meaning,” observes Rebecca Laurelson, the protagonist of Jean McNeil’s tense and atmospheric new novel, The Dhow House. “Here,” she continues, “it has something to do with danger.” “Here” is Kilindoni, on the east coast of Africa, where Rebecca’s aunt Julia lives with her husband and children. From the road, their home – the Dhow House – appears like a fortress, walled and gated, but on the other side it “dissolve[s] into a garden,” lying open to the sea. The dangerous currents Rebecca senses are not those of the shark-infested waters that stretch with treacherous beauty to the horizon, however: they run through the house itself.

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