Book Review: Signs of Life

Signs of Life
by Amy Head
Review by Bel
I love novels that show me my home city in a different light, and since I didn’t live through the earthquakes, this is such a good reminder of what the city has been through. This is a novel told in fragments that describe fleeting, tiny moments in the characters’ day-to-day. They are disjointed, disorientated even, but purposefully – because so are the characters’ lives now.
The prose is incredibly understated. It’s deliberately flat and without ornamentation. It’s stripped back, slowed-down and focused on small moments surrounded by empty space.
This creates an atmosphere which is quite unique. It’s eerily still, and perfect for its subject matter. The signs of life are quiet, tentative, with a vague sense of fear and strangeness ever-present on the periphery. But there’s also such beauty, clarity, and a dry sense of humour that’s resigned to the absurdity of things. I found it sensitively observed and deeply affecting.