Monday 10 July 2023

Notes On An Execution by Danya Kukafka | Book Review

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Notes On An Execution by Danya Kukafka
My rating: 4/5
Publisher: Phoenix 
Publication date: 5th January 2023

Ansel Packer is scheduled to die in twelve hours. But this is not his story.

Ansel doesn't want to die; he wants to be celebrated, understood. Yet now he awaits the same fate he forced on those girls, years ago.

This is the story of the women who survive.

As the clock ticks down, three women - a mother, a sister, a detective - reckon with the choices that culminate in tragedy, the impact on those in its wake, and the possibility of redemption.

I went in blind on this, choosing it because I'd seen a few social media posts on the book so I didn't really have any expectations. It definitely starts slow but it is so worth it.

Ansel Packer is counting down to his execution. He is on death row for murdering multiple women and the story is told from four points of view; Ansel's in prison, his mother Lavender, his sister-in-law Hazel and New York State police captain Saffy Singh who remembers Ansel from a group home they lived at together back in the 80s.

Ansel's life plays out in front of us from his mother's escape from her partner, his time spent at the home to his interactions with the women he killed then later, meeting his adult niece for the first time. 

Ansel has obviously had it rough in his early years and clearly that has been traumatic in a way. It doesn't excuse what he did. What Kukafka has done really well here is not force us to feel sorry for Ansel nor revel in the fact that he is being executed.

It is a very thought provoking novel that I would definitely recommend. The prose is beautiful too.

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