The most haunting book in years

There are not many books that haunt you to the extent where you struggle to sleep and, at rare quiet times in the day, you experience flashbacks at a particularly harrowing part of the book’s plot.

The Other Hand by Chris Cleave haunts you in this way. I am less eloquent than book critics, so here’s what they have to say…..

I felt the same excitement discovering this as I did Marina Lewycka’s A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian and Paul Torday’s Salmon Fishin in The Yemen. There is an urgency here, an inability to put it down and a deep sense of loss once finished. It is a very special book indeed. Profound, deeply moving and yet light in touch, it explores the nature of loss, hope, love and identity with atrocity its backdrop. Read it and think deeply. Sarah Broadhurst, Bookseller.

A better book than Chris Cleave’s The Other Hand may be published this year, but I wouldn’t bet on it…….exquisitely written…..the most powerful novel I’ve read in a long time….I finished The Other Hand in tears, and I still can’t get it out of my head. Just read it. The Gloss, Ireland.

The book hinges on the plight of a vulnerable child in a war torn country – children UNICEF work hard to protect.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 


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Today I am going to talk about a

Today I am going to talk about a book that I am currently enjoying about a family who re-locate to New Zealand. 

My Mum uploaded it to my kindle via Amazon’s whispernet. I am surprised she recommended it as she worries that someday myself and my husband will grab the grandchildren and take off to some far flung corner of the world. We did play with the idea of New Zealand a few years back but it was too much of a risk with little guarantee that things would turn out OK. 

But in After the Fall the reader discovers a New Zealand through the eyes of the main character in a way that can’t be sought through websites, books and other research. I am enjoying it so much as I can imagine what it may have been like if we had taken the path to NZ emigration like the family in the book. What makes New Zealand particularly interesting in this book is a description of the Maori origins of the country and the folklore similar to that of the red indians in America. I am particularly taken with the maori explanations for local geographical characteristics linked to tragic stories of love and loss similar to that of Greek legends. For example, a woman who was bewitched by a male fairy and cursed to the point where she decided to drown herself in the sea and the land that juts out into the sea resembles the woman who was bewitched.

Books provide an alternative universe to dip your toe into and fill your head with someone else trials and trepidations in a welcome temporary distraction to reality. Thus giving your soul some respite. So before you go to bed tonight pick up a book and read a couple of pages. It is an excellent way to wind down and makes going to bed something to look forward to (over and above the other thing of course!)

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef – see how well the campaign is doing here.

Thanks for reading.