Wednesday, 22 May 2019

The String Games by Gail Aldwin

Review by JJ Marsh

What we thought:

Nim’s family life is shifting. Dad has left and Mum’s happiness revolves around her new friend Dee. That summer holiday in France, Nim’s life changes forever. She notices boys. They notice her. Her little brother Josh is annoying and embarrassing and always underfoot. Until he disappears.

That childhood trauma imprints itself on her adult psyche, shrouding her outlook in grief and endless questions. Finally, she chooses to return to the scene and find some answers.

The String Games is aptly titled, drawing the reader into the world of Imogen/Nim, Josh and Maxime, while leaving us up in the air and uncertain. The reader feels every bit as clueless and on shifting sands as the characters themselves.

This is a psychological drama a cut above the average in that the story is more about reaction than action, process rather than procedure. Aldwin blends her dark and light with an artistic touch, leaving the reader with just enough detail to ask ‘What would I do?’

You’ll enjoy this if you liked: We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, Spilt Milk by Amanda Hodgkinson, A Child in Time by Iain McEwan

Avoid if you don’t like: Long-term grief, loss, a child’s point of view

Ideal accompaniments: Vanilla ice cream, a cider shandy and Les N√©gresses Vertes with C’est pas la mer √† boire

Genre: Literary fiction, Coming of Age

Available here

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