Part of me is so weary of crime novels and TV dramas revolving around the discovery of (another) mutilated body of a woman. What bugs me is not depicting the reality that women get murdered. Of course they do, every day, of every week, of every year. My issue is that I feel uncomfortable, even voyeuristic, watching the investigators, journalists and the rest of cast paw over the details of her life and her death. Of course, her murder is never condoned and the murderer receives our strongest condemnation. But beyond the surface-level motive, there is never any exploration of why this happened. What is it about our culture that creates the space for these events; that makes it unsurprising when another women is violently murdered?
I picked up Emily Maguire’s An Isolated Incident expecting a run-of-the-mill crime thriller (although a very good one given its accolades), and found instead an astonishing novel that expertly delivers a poignant yet gripping read, while exploring the drivers of violence against women. I can’t think of another novel like it.