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Afterwards Paperback – June 1, 2011
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In AFTERWARDS, we see a master's touch on every page. Uncompromising emotional impact, a poet's sonorous style and a gripping story all come together to make this a transcendent literary experience. I guarantee this novel will touch everyone Jeffery Deaver Extraordinary...heart-stopping...[an] ingenious thriller Mail on Sunday I became insanely gripped ... The word compelling is used lightly of mystery and crime novels this one will define it for you Daily Mail In a LOVELY BONES-style conceit ... Lupton works her theme of the corrosive effects of ambition with insight and gusto Guardian The smartly crafted characters create an addictive whodunit ... [it] flits between a fast-paced criminal investigation and the beautifully written musings of Grace as she hears that she and Jenny will probably never wake up making this an unmissable read Heat Loved THE TIME TRAVELLER'S WIFE? Well this is even better Company Compulsive reading right from the start ... Pacy and compelling She As with Lupton's debut SISTER, AFTERWARDS has bestseller written all over it. She has found a way of combining searing emotion with page-turning plotting Daily Mirror Extraordinary...heart-stopping...[an] ingenious thriller Mail on Sunday A bold, impossible-to-categorize, and riveting blend of psychological suspense, literary thriller and the paranormal ... wickedly good Seattle Times Lupton's dexterity at handling the subplots and possible suspects is dazzling ... [she] creates such lovely, believable feelings in all of her characters, that what's ostensibly a supernatural story feels very, very human Oprah.com
About the Author
For years Rosamund Lupton has been a script writer for the BBC. She lives in London with her husband - a doctor - and two children.
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'Afterwards' is a psychological mystery with plenty of twists and turns. Ms. Lupton certainly knows how to develop her characters and I felt as though I knew most of them. The protagonist is Grace who is critically injured in a school fire trying to save her teen-age daughter, Jenny, who is also severely injured. The novel is narrated by Grace's 'spirit' as she speaks (or maybe she's writing) to her husband. Grace's 'spirit' and Jenny's 'spirit' converse throughout the novel as they try to determine who the arsonist is.
This talented author helps us to understand the love of a mother for her child and the importance of family love. My only complaint is that, at times, the story moves very slowly and that was mostly due to the thoroughness of the police investigation. Otherwise, great job! I will be thinking about this story for a long time, I'm sure.
It is in the aftermath that we learn the fates of Jenny, of Grace, and why Adam stopped speaking. And we learn that the fire has been labeled an arson.
Our narrator in this captivating story is Grace, whose body is unconscious and supposedly without cognitive function. She tells the story as if addressing her husband Michael; she refers to him as "you." She communicates with her unconscious and desperately ill daughter Jenny, and can hear and observe what others are saying and doing. But she cannot speak or communicate with anyone but Jenny.
When the police focus their investigation onto her eight-year-old son Adam because of an anonymous "witness," she "floats" around to listen in on conversations and try to figure out what happened. She has a mission. To save her daughter Jenny and to find out who started the fire and why, so she can save her son.
What, if anything, does the teacher fired three months before have to do with this disaster? How is Maisie's husband Donald connected to the school and what is happening? And who else might have been involved?
Through various twists and turns, a bit of misdirection through the lies of witnesses, we finally find ourselves on the tangled pathway to the truth. But just when we think we know what happened, there is still another piece of the story that comes to light.
What will happen to Grace and Jenny? Will there be a happily ever after for them? Will there be an afterwards?
I couldn't put this book down. I felt so invested in Grace's story and her quest, and in turn, I disliked many of the characters who each had done something wrong and put others at risk. The lies, the hidden motivations--all combined to reveal the blacks, the whites, and how the two seldom merge. Like separate aspects of the same person, sometimes the good wins out, and other times it does not. A riveting, engaging story, Afterwards: A Novel earned five stars.