ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

National Year of Reading 2012 and it must be time for a book review again - Afterwards, by Rosamund Lupton.

It is National Year of Reading 2012 in Australia which means an intense focus on reading for the whole country. Studies show that Australians read more per capita than any other nation. That's not hard to believe when I walk around the city - every second person has their nose in a book (print or kindle.) Excellent.


There is voting to find the best Australian book of the year, Picture Book displays and workshops, Indigenous Writing and more. I linked to the site above if you want to read more.


Meanwhile, reader extraordinaire, myself, has already devoured about 10 books since January 1st, heading for my goal of 100+ books again. I've read Gardens of Delight by Erica James, two more books in Nora Roberts' Irish Trilogy, another Jane Green novel and Goldengrove, by Francine Prose (whose prose is amazing) and more...Print books are still my favourite, but I have about 3 e-books on the go by some amazing blogger authors such as Francine Howarth, Roland Yeomans and Anne Gallagher


So I thought I'd post a book review to kick off my National Year of Reading 2012. Was hard to choose, but Afterwards is my hot read so far...



Afterwards
by Rosamund Lupton (Goodreads Author)
From Goodreads:
There is a fire and they are in there. They are in there...


Black smoke stains a summer blue sky. A school is on fire. And one mother, Grace, sees the smoke. She knows her teenage daughter Jenny is inside. She runs into the burning building to rescue her.


Afterwards Grace must find the identity of the arsonist and protect her children from the person who's still intent on destroying them. Afterwards, she must fight the limits of her physical strength and discover the limitlessness of love.

Rosamund Lupton is one of my latest favourite literary authors. I first came across her poetic writing when I read her debut novel, Sister, a chilling tale set in London. (I reviewed Sister here...)

Afterwards is also a chilling tale, but this time the reader enters a world where two disembodied spirits are the protagonists. This is a leap for some, yet I found everything about this book - the cover, the writing, the plot, all magnificent.

Here is a brief overview of the storyline:

Grace Covey is at her eight year old son Adam's school’s sports day when she sees smoke coming from the school building. Afraid for her children, a daughter and a son who are inside, she runs towards the school. Her son is outside the building being minded by the daughter of a friend, but her daughter, 17 year old Jenny, is still inside and Grace is desperate to rescue her little girl. (You might wonder why she doesn't leave it to the firemen, but there is a reason - they cannot get their trucks into the grounds because of the parents' parking.)

Grace finds an unconscious Jenny on an upper floor and drags her downstairs. Mother and daughter don't make it. Grace collapses before she can get both of them out of the building. They are admitted to hospital, both seriously burnt and fighting for their lives. However, the real fight hasn't begun yet because it is revealed that the fire was deliberately lit. Grace believes that somebody is out to destroy her children and she is desperate to stop that person, whoever he/she may be.

Before the fire, life was beautiful and easy for the Covey family but afterwards comes the fighting. Afterwards comes the time to appreciate the things that are truly important in life, to discover hidden depths of love and strength, especially of the bond between a mother and her children. Afterwards is the time when everything changes, forever. Afterwards is a time of sacrifice.

I've already said I loved this story. I loved the mystery with so many possible villains and a very credible solution, although I was slow to guess. It's an absolutely gripping story with Lupton's characters captivating, and her dealings with emotions are both credible and heart-rending.

This is one of those books I didn't want to ever finish, yet I read like lightning as the storyline had me in thrall. I can't wait for her next book.

I also posted a longer version of this review at Reading at Dawn, a book review blog I collaborate on with Dawn Embers and Writer's Block NZ. Anytime you want to read a book review, check us out at: readingatdawn.blogspot.com.





33 comments:

  1. Well, don't we Aussies rock then? :D

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    1. We knew that didn't we? At least in the reading stakes. D.

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  2. Thanks so much for the shout out Denise! Hope you like it.

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  3. Hi - I popped over from Ann Best's blog to meet you. You did such a great job with this review that I really want to read this book! And I love the idea of a Year of Reading. Nice to make your acquaintance.

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  4. ps and I see you've got the A to Z badge, so I look forward to reading you during the blogfest!

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    1. Lovely to meet you Melissa Ann. I'll be over to check out your blog. My A-Z theme is pretty much organised. I think you'll find it interesting. D.

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  5. Good for you Aussies! I've read nearly as many books as you have since Jan. 1. ; )

    And AFTERWARDS sounds like a great read.

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    1. Go Zan! I wonder what you've read so far? D.

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  6. Oh, that book looks wonderful! I'm going to put it on my wishlist.

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    1. You'll be glad you did when you get to read it Clarissa. D.

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  7. Well, I never knew that Australians were such avid readers. Glad to hear you're keeping the statistics in your favour :)

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  8. I agree, you Aussies rock! "Afterwards" seems delicious. On my TBR list. (I haven't read nearly as much as you have, but working on it.)

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    1. You won't be sorry Kittie. Trouble is there's just so many good reads out there. D.

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  9. Oh, literary books--gotta love those. Thanks for the great review! Sounds like a good read. :)

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  10. Ha! I didn't realise we read more per capita than any other nation. How cool!!

    I love your 100 book goal for the year too. I'm running a little behind on my goal, but I'm sure I'll catch up.

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  11. How cool about Australia reading more than any other country! I've heard great things about this book. Must check it out. Have a great weekend!

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  12. As a writer, I must get to Australia! I love that your country is so full of book lovers. You probably have lot and lots of bookstores, too. Our book stores in the States are disapperaing faster than than wild tigers. Afterwards sounds like an incredible I'm going to have to check out.

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  13. That is so cool to hear how much you Aussies read! Good for you! I wish other countries were as pro-reading as you guys.

    I'm in England right now and while I'll take pride in the fact that reading is popular here and books are very much a part of our life, it could be more so.

    And America? Don't even get me started. There are those who read because they love it, those who try to read because they know they should and then there are those who make it a point not to read as a matter of national pride. *shudder*

    Jai

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  14. Oh, to have time to read! And when I do have a little time I'm reading chn's books or watching chn's DVD's to improve my own work! :0(

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  15. Thanks for the review. I have such a hard time finding the next book to read, so I always love when a friend has a good recommendation. It's now on my TBR list!

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  16. Hi Denise
    Wonderful review. Another book for the TBR list that is never ending.

    How amazing that Australians are such great readers. It is a sad thing that many in the US are graduating without learning to read. This happened to my niece about ten years ago. Since then, the schools have been called on the carpet for their failures. I think things have improved. As for me, I taught my girls to read myself and I will do so with my grandchildren too. It's so important.
    Nancy

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  17. I am a fan of Rosamund Lupton, and aim to read that book soon. When I have read the other 100 on my Kindle, and the ever-growing paperback pile!

    Interesting to note the Australians read the most.

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  18. Sounds like a great read. Thanks for sharing this review.Wonderful that you've read so many books so far. I usually try to get a book a week--mostly by listening to audiobooks.

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  19. I love the fact that Australia has a National Year of Reading! I wish we had one of those here (or maybe we do and I just have never heard about it). Great review, and yeah, Afterwards sounds like a fascinating read!

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  20. Another to add to the TBR pile! This title has popped up everywhere in the last couple of weeks so it's a must! Thanks for the review.

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  21. Hi, Denise! Since Google's having this massive upheaval on March 1st and Google Friend Connect disappears, I signed up for Google + with its array of circles. I chose 'following' as I thought that would best form a base, with the option to add other circles as Google shook out. I'm hoping we can continue to follow each other! I'm at: http://www.kittiehoward.blogspot.com

    Just what we all need, a Google upheaval, heavens!

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  22. Confusion about what happens on March 1st with Google continues. (Of course, it's Google!) It looks like we bloggers will be able to keep the format we have. Have a few e-mails out to make sure as there's nothing on the Google + site that sheds light. Sorry it I stirred the waters.

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    1. All we can do is wait and see. I will join you on Google+ as of course definitely want to keep up!

      Denise

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  23. I Like your review, Denise. I will definately make an effort to read Afterwards SOON! As you know I loved 'Sister' so your review has given me a big incentive to read the next book as well!
    Thank you.

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