1 February 2018
The Walls Came Down follows the lives of three adults, Joanna, a journalist in Poland, Matty, a London financier, and Tom, an elderly man living out his last days in a Chicago hospice. It's only as the story progresses that we discover the reason why these three people are interlinked. And the reason why they are linked forms the basis for a truly fascinating story, which looks at the concept of family, and of the complicated bond that, regardless of circumstances, link them together.
Moving seamlessly between three distinct locations, Poland, London and Chicago, the three main characters allow us a glimpse into each of their lives and reveal, ever so slowly, the secrets which they have carried within them for such a long time. All three stories are especially poignant, and as the story progresses, it becomes really difficult to single out which story is the most affecting as there is something uniquely special about all of them. And yet, as you read on, you start to understand where the story is heading, and of how profoundly affected Joanna, Matty and Tom have been by the past events of their lives.
Thoughtfully written and profoundly affecting, the story captured my imagination from the very beginning. With delicate sensitivity, the author brings a wealth of cultural understanding, particularly Joanna’s life, both past and present, in Poland. Everything feels completely authentic, especially Tom’s story as he faces his own mortality burdened by a lifetime of regrets. But it is Matty’s story which is perhaps the most challenging and I felt huge compassion for him and he searches to uncover the truth about his life, which has been buried so deep it almost seems like a bottomless chasm.
The Walls Came Down is a story about a stolen childhood; it’s about the continual search to expose the truth, and it’s about the vulnerability of lives which have been ruined by deceit and lies.
Ewa Dodd has been writing since she was young - starting small with short self-illustrated books for children. More recently, she has delved into novel-writing, and is particularly interested in literature based in Poland, where her family are from. The Walls Came Down is her first published novel, for which she was shortlisted for the Virginia Prize for Fiction.