By Jodie Chapman
The book is a pick for Between The Covers on BBC 2, presented by Sara Cox. It has many themes of life, including love and loss as it takes readers on a journey of Nick and Anna’s lives. It starts in the most shocking way, that will be sure to make you gasp in what is a mix of nostalgia and closer to present day as it sweeps through relatable characters lives. It is gripping and emotional all the way through and is sure, in its beautifully written style, to tug at your heartstrings. It’s a very good, strong debut novel.
Check out the blurb and my full review below. Thank you very much to Ellie Hughes for sending me a proof copy to review.
She could be the girl dancing on tables one night, and the next she’d be hiding in the shadows.
Just when I thought I understood her, she would melt away and become a completely new person, and I’d have to start all over again.
That’s how it was with Anna.
Nick and Anna work the same summer job at their local cinema. Anna is mysterious, beautiful, and from a very different world to Nick.
She’s grown up preparing for the end of days, in a tightly-controlled existence where Christmas, getting drunk and sex before marriage are all off-limits.
So when Nick comes into her life, Anna falls passionately in love. Their shared world burns with poetry and music, cigarettes and conversation – hints of the people they hope to become.
But Anna, on the cusp of adulthood, is afraid to give up everything she’s ever believed in, and everyone she’s ever loved. She walks away, and Nick doesn’t stop her.
Years later, a tragedy draws Anna back into Nick’s life.
But rekindling their relationship leaves Anna and Nick facing a terrible choice between a love that’s endured decades, and the promises they’ve made to others along the way.
Be prepared to be shocked, have your emotions being pulled and have your attention grabbed from the minute you open the book!!!
Another Life is sure to send many readers on quite a life journey! This tells a searing and heart-wrenching story of Nick and Anna as it flips through time, mainly the 2000’s and 1990’s, but also delves into the late 1980’s and 2010’s. It bares an intensity that bores into you as you read in quite a spectacular way, it does take a bit of concentration, but is easy to follow with all the very fast year changes (although maybe a bit too much), but there is a sense of grounding because of all the connecting themes and the main characters. All those time-frames are woven together to tie life experiences of love, loss, hope all together within these central characters in this substantially, well-plotted book.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s there are brilliant cultural and society references that will whisk you back there, such as Fawlty Towers and Marty McFly and that time travelling car on the TV and Woolworths on the highstreet, it gleams some nostalgia all around in so many ways. So, if you have a desire to travel back in time like Marty McFly, as Nick really wished he could, this book will do it, at least on the page and in your mind.
Some of the arguements about women’s roles and the friend who is old enough to look after themselves over even the simplest of tasks, but doesn’t, hold up pretty well and I am sure many readers will find relatable. Nick, well, he is well-written and depicts this guy who doesn’t always get things right and he doesn’t always know what to say or do. This sort of guy is pretty relatable throughout all of time; as is Anna with her desires in life and her experiences. This is beautifully depicted with the complexities of life throughout in the circumstances the characters find themselves in to their families, relationships and friendships to their personality types.
There’s an intensity and urgency in the need to escape from certain people. places, situations. There is Nick who has seen some dark times in his and his family’s life, who needs Anna to be his constant, his rock. She is strong, but also has her own challenges. There’s the tugs of religion in Anna’s life that set her in a bit of a quandry because of all the rules. There is a desire to lead Another Life from each of them as each have been through a lot of challenges in their lives, mostly brought in by their environment and some of the people around them.
If you like David Nicholls’ books, you’re sure to enjoy Another Life!