Deep Down: the 'intimate, emotional and witty' 2023 debut you don't want to miss

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Deep Down: the 'intimate, emotional and witty' 2023 debut you don't want to miss

Deep Down: the 'intimate, emotional and witty' 2023 debut you don't want to miss

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A slow burn portrayal of how families can pull us apart but also how two siblings can find their way back to each other and to themselves. The climax of the book is a visit by Tom and Billie, along with Tom’s workmates, to the Paris catacombs, in a somewhat heavy-handed metaphor for the hero’s descent to the underworld to confront the monster. It wrestles, too, with the timeless question of how to form one’s own distinct adult identity in the shadow of a difficult parent. While tempers escalate, all Tom wants are “ice creams in the shape of Sonic the Hedgehog … Not only do they look awesome but he imagines they probably turn your tongue and lips blue, which will be a lot of fun because he can lie on the ground and pretend that he’s died. West-Knights deftly shows us that the relationship between the siblings, and with their dad William, is anything but straightforward.

We learn, for instance, that when Queen Elizabeth II died, the state trumpeters were on a plane to Canada and the bearer party was in Iraq. This perceptive account of the undercurrents that shape our family relationships and the ways in which they play out in adulthood had me gripped. This book has opened my eyes and made me realise to be grateful for who you have and what you have got. They are repairing the scenery, rebuilding the set on which their performance of normal life takes place.Tom and Billie’s memories, vivid with the clarity that childhood shame or fear can retain, are therefore presented with the same immediacy as the days of limbo between death and funeral. Even so, they didn't spend that much time together and they were cordial the entire time so it felt like the tension was diluted. A less assured novelist might have shied away from bringing a narrative with themes of concealment, sublimated emotion and repressed history to a head in a subterranean setting. Don't get me wrong, I do think that there are some really touching and relatable moments in this book. Funny, moving and unexpected, Deep Down is an empathetic and hard-hitting look at both the struggles and the joys of sibling relationships, and the realities of grieving the loss of someone who was already an absence.

The withholding of information is masterfully sustained as we come to understand why they have responded to their father’s death with such profound ambiguity. A brilliant page-turner - I also wanted to pause every few paragraphs and read aloud as a treat for whoever happened to be sitting next to me. Deep Down examines that which we would rather suppress - grief, shame, hurt - with unflinching verve while treading a careful line between finding the absurd in the humane, and the humane in the absurd. Perhaps we could have used another character - like a sibling or a cousin - who has kept in touch with both siblings to help bridge the gap, and keep the action, communication, and tension between our main characters. DEEP DOWN is a beautifully constructed and unnervingly assured debut which deeply moved and impressed me.It should be a time to comfort each other, but there's always been a distance to their relationship.

This was quite an interesting read about a brother and sister coming to terms with the death of their abusive father. In one finely wrought section during a family holiday to Spain, 13-year-old Tom is privy to an awful altercation between his parents in the supermarket. To be fair, I picked it up at a friend’s house but after 20 pages or so I literally threw it across the room. There is a LOT of description of movement from one place to another, which I find absolutely exhausting as a reader.Billie and her mother, Lisa, steadfastly refer to their father’s “illness”; it is left to Tom to voice the unsayable: “Maybe the only thing that was actually wrong with him was that he was a bad person. And the novel is a serious and very accomplished examination of what it means to love and grieve for someone who might seem unlovable. There are scenes of ‘goo spattered all over the floor’, interrupted by a policeman ‘wearing a chunky black vest thing’, and dramatic arguments where the most tragic result is a lack of ice creams ‘in the shape of Sonic the Hedgehog’.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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