Friday 3 November 2017

Review by Sonia Tailor of "The Single Feather" by R. F. Hunt

Finally, a disabled protagonist who is given a central voice and is not treated as a mere victim.

The Single Feather by R.F. Hunt follows the perspective of Rachel, a thirty-one year old paraplegic. She has to escape where she was living and move to a quiet town. In order build a new life for herself, she joins an art group. She soon finds out that she is not the only one with a past.

Although the novel is centred on Rachel, we learn a lot about the other characters. They have their own, unique personalities. They are presented as genuine and relatable, especially those in the art group. Although some of the members in the group are more likable than others, we, as readers, become attached to them. We witness their growth as well as their hardships and we are made to feel like we are members ourselves.

The novel tackles a number of diverse topics. These includes the importance of friendship, the question of identity and the power of a community. Hunt also examines the ways in which disability and mental health are portrayed in today’s society. Some of the characters in the art group are forced to confront these issues. The reader’s assumptions are also challenged and we learn about the way the most vulnerable are treated in society.

Overall, The Single Feather is a thought-provoking and engaging novel.

With friends you grow wings
You are a single feather in disgrace
With them you master the wind,
But alone
You’re blown in all directions.

About the reviewer
Sonia Tailor studied an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. She is a peace activist who enjoys writing short stories and monologues. She has organised vigils and demonstrations, and in 2007, she travelled to Jordan to make a documentary about Iraqi refugee children. For many years, Sonia was the Youth Page editor for Peace News (newspaper) and she currently runs a book blog on Instagram: @soniareads. 

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