Hostage, by Karen Tayleur

The thing I remember is that the chemist floor had a large black scuff near the counter.
I don’t remember the knife.
I remember something cold on my neck, which could have been a knife, or could just have been his long cold fingers pressing in to me.
But it was the scuff I remember best.
I was thinking, ‘Someone should really clean that.’
And then we were in the car.
And then we were gone.

Tully has a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time – and that is never truer than on Christmas Eve when she is at the pharmacy counter at the same time as a thief, wanting to hold the place up. Suddenly Tully is a hostage, a knife at her throat, thrust into the getaway car for a wild ride. But as the ride continues, Tully befriends the driver, Griffin, who she has known in passing previously, and confronts her troubled childhood.

Hostage is a face-paced psychological and physical journey, taking place in the space of a day as Tully and Griffin revisit the settings of Tully’s childhood, and the reader is privy to the tumultuous events of that childhood. With the past – both more distant and recent – revealed in enticing slivers, and through a mix of first person reporting, third person narrative and snippets from Tully’s ‘memory tin’, the reader is carried briskly through the story needing to keep turning pages and find out what has happened – and what will happen.



Hostage, by Karen Tayleur
black dog, 2009

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