Taking Ronnie to the Pictures

Gary Ley
Publication Date: 
Tuesday, September 22, 1998
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Fire brings death to a ranch in Texas. The only survivor is eight-year-old Ronnie, saved by Francis from the blaze which killed her family. Yet, as the smell of smoke fades, a hint of something equally destructive clouds the air: child abuse. Suspicion falls on Francis, the young outsider adrift in America, escaping the claustrophobia of his farm home in Wales. Friendship and trust are tested to the extreme in this beautifully interleaved and resonant novel. Memory, interpretation and invention combine to give new versions of the truth. A subtle revision of history threatens to erase the bond between Francis and Ronnie; while Francis’ relationship with his father, revealed in a series of exquisitely-written flashbacks, must also be reconstructed. Taking Ronnie to the Pictures is a study of innocence and obsession, and the intersection of freedom and responsibility. Crossing and re-crossing the Atlantic, the cleverly crafted narrative sends echoes ringing through this outstanding debut.

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