“Greenwich Park”

Relationships, pregnancy, public face/private secrets,

“Greenwich Park” opens with a question; “Dear Helen, what did you do that day, after I was convicted?” The story unfolds in Helen Thorpe’s first-person present tense narrative, so readers get to know her well. She shares what she thinks and feels. She reminisces, remembers, evaluates, and judges. Her home is being remodeled, and she just left her job on maternity leave. This is not her first pregnancy; the others did not end well.  At her first prenatal class she befriends Rachel, a young girl who arrives alone. Chapters then count upward from 24 weeks until the arrival of Helen’s baby is imminent.

There are also alternate chapters in other voices, friends, and relatives. The narrative is filled with everyday activities and family get-togethers; however, there are always casual mentions of things that happened “before,” echoes of a traumatic past “something.” Katie Wheeler’s story also unfolds in a present tense narrative. She is covering a high-profile rape trial with prominent defendants. The victim has been vilified on social media, and Kate desperately wants to talk to her. There is yet another voice, an alternate present tense voice, quite different, in Greenwich Park, watching, commenting, continuing to watch.

Faulkner creates a narrative that starts innocently enough with a family and a friendship, but it takes a gradual turn; many things are not what they seem to be. Several secrets are buried in the past, traumatic ones, and they come bubbling to the surface. I received a review copy of “Greenwich Park” from Katherine Faulkner, Gallery Books, and Simon & Schuster. Things might seem to be over, but they are not and may never be truly over.