Things Unseen – Pamela Power

Perhaps it’s a good thing that I’m only writing this review a long-ish time after putting the book down. (But also because time hasn’t been on my side. If I am at all completely honest with myself!) There is such richness of themes in Things Unseen that I keep mulling over and I hope to give you a flaming review because of the distance between the read and the review:

Emma’s quietly unsatisfying suburban life is thrown into disarray when she finds her mother beaten to death, her knickers around her ankles, in the mansion Emma shares with her husband in Westcliff. Police believe it’s an open-and-shut case and peg the crime on Surprise, the immigrant gardener. But Emma is convinced they are wrong.

The men in Emma’s life try to stop her asking questions: Rick, her philandering gynaecologist husband; Ross, her errant and immature brother returned from Australia; and Craig, an ex-lover visiting from the UK who stirs long-buried feelings in her.

Emma’s search for the truth reveals trust to be a fragile and elusive thing.


Yes, and I found myself trusting the wrong people at the wrong times in this book when ACTUALLY, all along, the culprit was right underneath our noses … I’ll let you read the book and find out for yourselves!

The thing that has been mulling over in my brain is the nature vs nurture debate. When I eventually find out whodunit, my mind kept asking “How did he turn out this way?”; “Does he have killer instincts or were his childhood experiences the driving factor?” So many questions which we’ll never turn up answers to!

This is Power’s second novel, but the first one that I have read. You’ll remember that we had a guest reviewer last year who reviewed Power’s first novel, Ms Conception so check it out here. I can only hope that Power has copious novels still within her that get us talking, wondering, soul-searching and grappling towards conversations that we need to continue to have as South Africans and just as human beings, too.

Interestingly enough, I came across a post on Instagram that stated: “You are now the main character in the last book that you read. Who are you?” And of course I was Emma le Roux! And I say that it’s interesting because I identified with a handful of Emma’s characteristics and I really felt a connection to her like we could be the best of friends!

After hearing soooo much about this book in the media and on social media, I am over the moon that I’ve had an opportunity to read it and gained a shift in perspective – a reminder that good and evil isn’t so clear cut and that there’s always MORE than two sides to a story.

-Babongile Z

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