Title : All Those Bright Crosses
Author: Ross Duncan
Date Published: 2007
Sub-Genre: Modern Contemporary
The story begins in Fiji with Martin drinking kava with the proprietor of the Twilight Homestay guesthouse and a Fijian stranger. The man enquires how Flint came to be in Fiji and the sad tale of his past comes pouring out. He tells of his gambling addiction and the debt that he put himself and his wife into thanks to long sessions playing poker machines. After the accidental death of his 4 year old daughter he had become detached and in need of a distraction and it was to the flashing lights and promise of a big pay-out that he was drawn.
It was only after he realised just how hopelessly in debt he had placed them that he confessed his addiction to his wife. The inevitable separation hit him hard, numbing him into inaction, leaving him to mope around the house, seeking help from Gamblers Anonymous and lurching desperately for some kind of distraction.
The only moment of disquiet for me came at the end of the novel which is left wide open, and while that had me grasping for a meaningful sense of closure, it also emphasised the fact that Martin's journey was ongoing. When I closed the book on the final page I couldn't help but wonder whether he was going to make it. One thing is for certain, All Those Bright Crosses is a richly rewarding story of growth and renewal that smoothly deals with addiction, grief and senseless loss.