ContemporaryConsent by Annabel Lyon

Consent by Annabel Lyon


I read this book in about an hour on Friday night and I don’t think I blinked or moved from beginning to end. Long listed for @womensprize Consent is a novel about two sets of sisters with complicated relationships, predatory men, sexual power, capacity to consent, revenge, addiction and family dysfunction. All in 211 pages, some of which were explicit, provocative and contain all the trigger warnings. 

I thought the four main characters were well developed, and different enough to add to the narrative in a clever way. In one corner we have twins Saskia and Jenny, one is capricious, stylish and narcissistic the other hard working and quiet. Then we have Sara, the older, intellectual sister, obsessed with haute couture, perfume and style. Mattie is her younger, innocent sibling who has learning disabilities and embodies joy and purity. 

The focus of the plot is the domestic drama within the two families, which is dark and at times deeply unsettling. The writing is lurid and lyrical, and the pace ramps up, becoming a thriller as the characters lives overlap, the twists and turns arrive fast which took my breath away.

What I found truly fascinating was the exploration of patient-carer dynamics and how Lyons teased out the complex arguments surrounding society’s approach to someone like Mattie and their rights to have relationships. It made me dig out some of my legal text books and favourite books on feminism, sexuality and the role of law.

Utterly compelling – I can completely see why this was long listed. It’s now Tuesday, I have finished one book and am midway through another and I am still thinking about Consent.

~ Chaya

{Ad:PR Copy} Thank you so much to @atlanticbooks for sending us a copy

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