If you like either Rachel Cusk or Gwendoline Riley, I’d take a punt that you’d enjoy this. I don’t particularly like Cusk from what I’ve read, and I certainly didn’t like ‘First Love’ by Riley, so this is unfortunate. This is at times insightful, and the writing is consistently ‘good’ – it just isn’t my type of novel. I felt a instant disconnect from our nameless narrator, and whilst I feel this is intentional, it made it hard for me to see the point in this book. Our narrator ruminates over different times in her life where she is a young child with a strange relationship with Grandmother ‘Doctor K’, a young woman caring for her ailing mother, a nervous expectant mother and a cautious first time mother. Interspersed throughout her musings of her life, our narrator also ponders on the lives of Freud and his daughter Anna, x-ray pioneer Wilhelm Röntgen and distinguished surgeon John Hunter. The inclusion of these real life’characters’ are intended to serve the narrative, but for me just highlight how week the real bones of this story are.
Thank you to John Murray and Netgalley for providing an eBook of this for an honest review.