NB’s Recommendation for the month of August is the outstanding Patience by Victoria Scott. What better way to introduce the novel, than through words from the novel’s Editor, Thorne Ryan:
In my job I think it’s fair to say that I read a lot of books. After a few years as an editor, you can find yourself falling into just trying to get through it all – one book finished and ticked off the list, now straight onto the next one. It can start to feel a bit like a production line. Then every so often, a book comes along that stops the conveyor belt, makes you sit up and listen – and, most importantly, feel. It cuts through all the emails that need to be sent, all the Zooms that need to be set up, all the noise of the world, and reminds you why you’ve dedicated your life to books.
As soon as I started it, I knew that Patience was going to be one of those books. In her debut novel, Victoria Scott tackles an emotionally charged and extremely complex topic with deftness and a deceptive simplicity that is as difficult to achieve as it is effective. Each member of Patience’s flawed but well-meaning family is given their own fully realised voice, and thus the moral dilemma at the heart of the story is truly grounded in the messy, relatable, universal human experience. In a normal novel this would be difficult enough, but in one that tackles such a huge topic as gene therapy it is simply masterful.
Most importantly, though, Patience herself is given a voice. And not just any voice; a funny, endearing, charming and captivating one, informed and shaped by the author’s experience with her own beloved sister, Claire, who has Rett syndrome. Victoria is committed to telling the story of families with severely disabled siblings or children in a way that celebrates the joy and love in their daily lives, but which also reflects the heartache of frequent hospital visits and the need to make difficult decisions – and she has achieved this and so much more in Patience.