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Orange Prize Nominee for Fiction Shortlist (2008)
Costa Book Award for First Novel (2008)
I needed to keep giving myself a reason to read this book. Not because the story line is not interesting or because the characters are boring, but this book is what I will call as a dark, depressing book.
May be the only thing that kept me was Lewis and Kit who seemed to add some sanity to the story with a lot of insane characters.
The story written as a post WWII starts with Lewis's father Gilbert returning from WWII. Elizabeth his wife and Lewis his son has kind of learned to live without his constant presence. Tragedy happens when Elizabeth gets drowned in a lake during a lunch picnic with Lewis. Gilbert and Lewis are torn apart in their life after tragedy and Lewis finds himself isolated. Things grew worse when Gilbert marries Alice within an year of Elizabeth's death. Alice is too young to understand or manage Lewis and he ended up being a difficult kid.
Dark, depressing, sad, tragic. Probably those are the things that can be told about this book. The slight consolation was the ending which turned out to be much better than anyone could expect.
The story is tragic, and you can feel a depressed feeling all over your mind when you read this book. But this book will have a strange hold on you that you don't have the option of leaving it unread. You just have to finish the book. And I found that I felt much better by the ending and I am sure that I would have felt much different had I abandoned the book in the middle.
Verdict: Dark, depressing but very engaging. (May be I should add "just like most of the award winning books")