Another Life is a beautifully written story of love in all its forms (parental, brotherly, friendship, relationships). The blurb only really skims the surface of the deep emotions contained within the pages of this book. This kind of character-driven read is right up my street.

On the surface this is the story of Nick and Anna. Theirs is an intense love story but Anna lives a different kind of life to Nick, one of strong beliefs and strict guidelines. Their love seems almost destined to fail. But it’s not only about Nick and Anna. This is Nick’s story and his family background plays a huge part in his future decisions. I’m not saying anything else about the story though. The blurb is deliberately vague and it’s best to approach reading this book with only the bare minimum of detail to be able to fully immerse yourself in it.

I love books with plots like this that jump all over the place in a non-linear fashion, like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. I’m in awe of the author’s ability to pull together many different strands of the story so that they unfold organically and yet non-chronologically. The action takes place from the 1980s up to the present day, starting with a shocking incident, the reasons for which become clear only as we learn of past events.

I thought the characterisations were superb from the main protagonists to the minor players, with all the roles coming together to create an ensemble piece, just as in life. Another Life really is about all of life and its myriad ups and downs but at the heart is a stunning love story that I was utterly gripped by. I feel that this is a book that is impossible to do justice to in a review. It’s so multi-layered, so thoughtful, so deliciously poignant, and it delivers a sucker-punch to the heart. The writing is stunning and intuitive, and the story is one I don’t think I will forget. I loved Another Life.

Reviewed by Nicola Smith, Short Book and Scribes

Published 1st April by Michael Joseph
Hardback, ISBN 978-0241456910