Amongst Auckland's freightyards, where rusting ferries loom over squalid nightclubs and all kinds of human detritus finish up, runs Quay Street, populated by drunks, junkies, psychos and derelicts. For Maria Wallis and Marcus Klein, she a promising young lawyer looking for kicks, he a budding novelist in search of inspiration, and each struggling to escape the humid embrace of a childhood spent suffocating in the suburbs, this is the place where you go to look for real life. But when Marcus wakes up in a gutted bedsit with third-degree burns and only the most tantalisingly vague memory of how he got there, and Maria finds herself oscillating between a sexually ambiguous kleptomaniac and a twenty-stone Maori bouncer with a taste for slasher videos, it seems clear that real life may be dirtier and more dangerous than they can handle. Edgy, intense, breathtakingly original and irresistibly deadpan, GUILT evokes a startlingly sinister, erotic underworld, in which a mesmerising drama of sexual obsession is played out to its extraordinary conclusion.
Charlotte Grimshaw is the daughter of New Zealand's most famous novelist, C. K. Stead. This is her second novel.