I listened to this audio book as part of my project to read Helen Garner’s collection of books this year and also because of my horror/fascination at the crime and subsequent trial featured within. (As proof of this, I found the book on my shelf a few weeks after I finished listening, completely forgetting I had bought it at a second hand booksale.)
In Australia the late 90s, a uni student plotted to murder her boyfriend, letting her best friend and some other uni mates in on the plan. No one warned Joe Cinque, and no one saved him despite opportunities to do so.
Thinking it would be a quick death from an overdose of rohypnol and heroin, Joe Cinque’s girlfriend was horrified when it took him nearly a whole day to die, but she was evidently more horrified that she might actually go to jail and left him to suffer horribly through his last hours rather than call an ambulance. It which would most certainly have saved him.
Garner follows the trial, attending court every day and befriending the bereft parents of the deceased. Their voice features heavily throughout the book and the reader can’t help but feeling devastated for them. The way the trial and sentencing plays out made me think a lot about the meaning of justice and whether or not the system can deliver it (I was left with the impression that it can’t).
I continue to enjoy Garner’s writing and I’m looking forward again to the next book of hers that I will pick up. Even though the subject was difficult, the writing was clear and compelling, and told a story that everyone needs to hear.