Review of ‘The Report’ by Jessica Francis Kane

The ReportThis is a strange book; it takes a really interesting historical event – a fatal crush at an Underground bomb shelter during World War II – and then takes an oddly detached viewpoint on it.

The author turns the event into a mystery and by doing so is unable to concentrate on the most interesting part of the story – the experience and emotions of the people caught up in the crush. The actual description of the crush only lasts a few pages and the rest of the novel is taken up by the narrative of the people writing the report on the accident and making a documentary about it set 3 years after the event. It would have been more interesting and enjoyable if it had been a blow by blow description of the incident from the viewpoint of the people involved rather than a sterile reflection on the events.

The fictionalisation of events to create a mystery surrounding why the crush started seems to undermine the reportage elements of the story, leaving it confused and lacking in a clear perspective.

It was a shame; this storyline handled in a different way has the potential to be riveting and very moving.

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