Read a good while back, and subsequently watched the film starring Tilda Swinton, but now revisiting it in the light of it being the Orange / Baileys’s book of the year for 2005, and to urge anyone who knows not the plot to put time aside for this story.
Certain parts of this book still sit excruciatingly clearly in my mind’s eye, so that has to be a pretty good recommendation all by itself, given the ‘wretched’ recollections I frustratingly cannot bring to mind of some much more recent reads.
I also remember exactly where I was sat in our old flat one Saturday morning while the family slumbered on, hoping to be undetected so that I would not have to move an inch right until the very last page had been turned.
Another retrospective shudder.
The first half, even the first three quarters of this book, left me feeling really uninvolved, keen to carry on yet strangely detached : clearly an excellent tactic on behalf of the author as far as the character of the mother is concerned. I remember wondering as I read what the reason for her writing was, and why she chose to write and not converse directly with estranged husband Franklin – in fact, felt I’d like to have a good chat with him myself as the plot unfolded.
This is an excellent book on so many counts, and it should not come as a surprise to learn this, for the back of the book does indeed warn us that: “Few novels leave you gasping…as if the breath had been knocked from your body. Such is the impact of Kevin.” I have to absolutely agree. It’s jaw-droppingly good.
If you haven’t read it, don’t look anything up or it will be like the fantastic “Foxcatcher” film and ever so slightly spoil the story. But even if you do know what happens, this book (unlike its successor, “The Post-Birthday World”, am sorry to report), is very much worth every minute spent on it. Very, very highly recommended but not for the faint of heart. A top read, although after such un-mitigating rawness, a little light relief on the literary front might well be in order for the subsequent choice of book …
Read in 2011.
Rating : 10/10
Winner of the Orange (now Baileys’) Prize for Fiction 2005