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I am sure this book just won the Costa, though I could be wrong. I had heard good things about it and decided to give it a whirl.

 

Matthew's brother Simon dies and thereafter Matthew suffers from mental health problems culminating in schizophrenia, where he thinks he still talks to his brother. The novel charts his fall into schizophrenia, by plot and stylistically too. The main success, I felt in the novel, was the characterization. Matt is a sympathetic protagonist who you believe in completely but the surrounding members of his family are terribly believable and painfully drawn.

 

Matt's reflections, when he speaks to you the reader alone, are very successful too. There is sense and madness, love and hate, truth and lies - his reality and our reality.

 

I am surprised that it won the Costa - pleased but surprised. If I could put my finger on the plot I would but it is more the descent and the meanderings that intrigue as we watch this young man deal with a terrible tragedy in his life. Worth a read though.

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It was a good read, but I expected more from it. I guess that's because of the publishers bid war it started, and I'm interested in stories revolving around mental illness. I read it a month ago now, and I can remember very little of it - it didn't really stick in my mind. There was nothing that made you go wow.

Then again, it has received some good reviews so maybe I'm in the minority with my opinion.

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Ha!  Seeing this on the forum reminded me that I'd missed it off my reading list notes - I knew I'd read something that I hadn't recorded, just couldn't think what.  Seems I'm not alone. 

 

I found it nice enough but I can't say that it touched me on any level, which given the subject matter, it should have done really.

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There were some good insights e.g. the gulf between sufferers of mental illness and those in the helping professions. But it wasn't a work of literature. He would have done better writing articles or appearing on TV to push his message - this was a case where offering the message in novel form did NOT bring it to life.

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I have just finished this novel having read it in two and a half days. I found it a little odd to begin with which considering the subject matter is probably not surprising and did wonder if I was going to get on with it. However I continued and found eventually that I could not put the book down.

 

Unlike others I did feel as if the book made it's point pretty well. I know little about the type of mental illness the book attempts to portray but felt that Matt's story managed to convey the confusion and isolation such a sufferer must feel. On the top of the front cover the book is described as "heartrending" and I would probably have to agree with this. I certainly felt real sympathy for Matt and his family in their struggle to cope with his condition.

 

Whether it is a book which will stay with me for long I do not know but I certainly felt that it was well worth reading.

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I've just finished this book and yes, I enjoyed it a lot while reading it, but I suspect that like Hazel and Angury I'm going to forget most of it fairly soon. 

 

What I do wonder though

is how much Matt's mother had to do with his illness.  It seemed like as if at one point the author was suggesting that she Munchhausen's syndrome by proxy, all those visits to the doctor, and then there was keeping him off school and getting annoyed when he did his work right.  But that theme seemed to peter out.

 

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