Frog Music (Emma Donoghue)

frog music emma donoghue
photo from kuow.org

Set in San Francisco in the 1800s, Frog Music tackles the mysterious death of a young woman called Jenny Bonnet. She is shot to death one night while her friend Blanche Beunon, a burlesque dancer, survives. For the next days, Blanche tries to find answers to her biggest questions about her friend’s death. Praised for its cinematic style, Frog Music is a good attempt as historical fiction and crime.

The novel is not perfect. However, I can tell that I find its characters very intriguing. They are not portrayed as simply good or simply bad; one can always see the different layers of their personalities, including their motivations. In fact, even the protagonists are presented in such a way that is not purely disgusting. After all, they are humans. They may seem evil on the surface level (such in the case of Arthur), but there are also times when they are fleshed out, allowing readers to see that there is still goodness in them.

What I also like about it is its vivid descriptions. Apart from taking me to old San Francisco, it also succeeds in making me feel the heat which, I believe, is a central theme in the novel.

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