A twist of magical realism makes Cats, Scarves and Liars a thoroughly enjoyable and unconventional exploration of the darker side of human nature lurking in bland city apartments.
Peppa Grove is grieving the sudden death of her young husband and just trying to get through the endless day when her cat starts talking to her. Has she finally lost the plot, as her friends and co-workers believe, or is there some other explanation. The answer, when revealed will confront everything Peppa has ever believed.
Cats, Scarves and Liars is a convincing portrayal of a young woman in the grip of melancholy struggling with esteem issues and a growing attraction to her dead husband’s best friend. Set in Adelaide, South Australia, there is a great sense of place and locals will appreciate the recognisable details. Peppa’s thoughts about the variety of customers who frequent the post office where she works are often amusing and to anyone who has ever worked in a service job very relatable. There are moments where the clarity of the plot is lost in favour of retaining mystery, which for me reduced the possible tension of the scene but did not detract from the story. White’s greatest strength is her ability to get inside the head of the psychopathic antagonist to reveal the warped logic of a narcissist without empathy of moral fibre.
A tale of death and acceptance, Cats, Scarves and Liars is not an edge-of-your-seat thriller. It is a thoughtful and original portrayal of a young woman grappling with loss and betrayal forced to confront a very unsavoury – and surprising – truth.