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robtwinem

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I live in Bristol UK literary fiction and crime are my books of choice and when not reading I like to run

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HHhH
Laurent Binet, Sam Taylor
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John Boyne
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Professional Reader 50 Book Reviews 80% Reviews Published

A remarkable book

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

This is not a book I would normally read but am most certainly glad I did and by so doing made the acquaintance of the eloquent Eleanor Oliphant. The story is told in the first person from Eleanor's point of view and on first meeting she seems a happy, contented individual employed as a finance clerk. I was therefore surprised when the author discloses that our young narrator has a facial disfigurement, and immediately I wanted to know how this occurred, was it by accident?....."It doesn't bother me at all when people react to my face, to the ridged, white contours of scar tissue that slither across my right cheek, starting at my temple and running all the way down to my chin.".....It also appears that Eleanor has very few friends and spends most weekends with only two vodka bottles and her memories for company. And what of the unusual conversations she has with her mother? Where is her mother and why does a parent say such cruel things to debase and belittle her child?

 

Gail Honeyman expertly explores issues of loneliness, kindness, hatred, the value of the human spirit to accept the cruellest luck and what happens when all hope is lost? The story is not however presented as a morbid read always containing genuine laughter yet all the while retaining the ability to shock....."My reflection showed a much younger woman, a confidant woman with glossy hair that brushed her shoulders and a fringe that set across her face, and set just over her scarred cheek. Me? I turned to the right and then to the left. I looked in the hand mirror Laura was holding behind my head so that I could see the back, smooth and sleek. I swallowed hard."........"Oh wait, Mummy- hang on a second. You said there were two things-what was the second thing you were thinking about? Oh yes, she said, and I heard her dismissive sideways hiss of cigarette smoke. It was just that I wanted to tell you that you're a pointless waste of human tissue. That was all. Bye then, darling! she said bright as a knife. Silence.".....

 

A different read, a superb study of social morals, a great understanding of the effects of loneliness, and a totally unexpected yet remarkable conclusion presents a book and narrative that is highly recommended.