‘The Rift’ is not going to be your casual half asleep Sunday read as there is a lot going on beneath the surface of this story. In the novel, Nina Allan introduces us to two sisters – Selena and Julie. The two grow up not just as sisters but as best friends. Only, as they grow there is a distance which grows between them. They’re still family but at the age of seventeen Julie goes missing and is presumed dead.
Twenty years pass and she returns into Selena’s life as quickly as she had departed. Only, her return isn’t a tale of a runaway or abduction but one so fantastic you can’t help but question Julie’s sanity. She claims to have been living on an alien planet this entire time. That there are “transepts” or rifts between our world and others and she had found a way through them.
The book is a work of science fiction, a work about family, and a work of mystery. Has Julie been on another world beyond our own this entire time? The narrative seems strong but soon looking into the unbelievable becomes even more so as letters and more which Julie had written in the past seems to show an obsession for disappearances and missing person’s cases.
However, even though Julie knows facts about Selena’s childhood that no one else should there are often cases where it doesn’t seem like it could possibly be her sister.
Much like Nina’s previous work ‘The Race,‘ the story isn’t just from the viewpoint of those involved but also from other items as mentioned above. In this one there are letters, diaries, newspaper clippings, and more that help the narrative move forward. They don’t help Julie’s case that she is who she says she is or that this alternate planet is where she has actually been all these years.
The ending doesn’t give a full answer as to some of the questions asked and those you will have to decide on by yourself. The lack of conclusion will be a turn off to some though I quite enjoyed the way things were left open and felt that Allan’s craft has improved since her previous novel. There are a lot of fun concepts here and a fully crafted alien world which could easily have a completely separate tale told in. Actually, I’d love to Nina revisit this world without even mentioning Selena, Julie, or the events from this book and just have it as connective tissue.
By: Nina Allan
July 11th, 2017