The chapters featuring Catherine’s torment and determination to keep her past a secret are alternated with those of a retired teacher, a lonely widower whose voice seethes with resentment and a desire for revenge.
Everything in Catherine’s world appears to be perfect: she’s an award winning documentary maker, she has a great husband and they’ve just moved into a new home together. They also have a son who has a job in a shop and who has recently left home for the first time to live independently.
But all is not as it appears. There are undercurrents of tension within the marriage and Catherine’s has a rocky relationship with her son. These are brought to the fore as she tries to discover who wrote the novel and why they are so determined to wreck her carefully constructed life.
However, the resentful widower is determined that the truth should come out, as he has lost so much while Catherine appears to have everything.
Both characters exhibit dislikable characteristics but for very different reasons, as Knight twists the plot around the perception of the term ‘disclaimer’ in relation to human behaviour.
A disclaimer is a statement that denies something, especially responsibility, and that’s why this novel is so brilliant. Everyone in it makes a disclaimer: some because they have taken a situation at face value, some because of a need to protect and others because they don’t want to face the truth, because to face the truth would mean they would have to take responsibility for their actions.
Disclaimer is one of those novels that will make you think for days after you’ve turned the last page. This gripping and well conceived novel put me through an emotional wringer. I was in tears by end as every character finally understood what they were and weren’t responsible for, and what it had cost them.
Disclaimer is published by Transworld. With thanks to NetGalley and Transworld for the review copy.