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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West-Knights is also skilful in her depiction of domestic abuse, rarely showing it directly; the potential for an outburst, and the way the children learn to recognise the warning signs, is more chilling than any description of a punch thrown. I couldn't believe this was a debut novel, it certainly pulled at my heart strings and bought reality back to life. 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. Away from the ‘tourist bit’ of the catacombs – the part filled with bones moved from the city’s cemeteries – is an extensive network of claustrophobic pathways beneath the everyday, visible level of the city.

For me, the highlights of this book were the Paris location and the friends and family who surround Billie and Tom - they brought joy and lightness where there wasn’t much. And the novel is a serious and very accomplished examination of what it means to love and grieve for someone who might seem unlovable. I agree with one reviewer who said that the author is a 'human story- teller' but disagree that she is 'hilarious' as I didn't find much humour in the book.It wrestles, too, with the timeless question of how to form one's own distinct adult identity in the shadow of a difficult parent. 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.

West-Knights takes the tradition of the British family novel - with all its resentment, over-drinking and passive aggression - and transcends it: Deep Down is funny, sad, tender and hopeful.Billie, who has a ‘plain, mashed potato sort of face’, lives in London, while Tom (a failed actor, whose only success was in a Christmas advert) has moved to Paris to work in a bar. There is a LOT of description of movement from one place to another, which I find absolutely exhausting as a reader.

Dazed by grief, the siblings spend days wandering the streets, both helping and hurting each other in the process. We see the book flit back to them as children and them now as they attempt to get their lives back on track. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. Tom starts to pick up the glass too, and the only sounds in the room are the gentle clink of tile on shard, and the rumbling of the kettle.Both are drifting, distant from each other and their mother, until this death shakes to the foundation the defences they have built over the years against the violence of their family history. 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. Even if Tom had been a failed drama student but had some sort of redemption in this regard the constant poking at his degree may have felt slightly less like deja vu. What West-Knights does so effectively here is to make no distinction between past and present; incidents from childhood are related in the same continuous present tense as the current events in Paris, with nothing so clunky as dates or chapter headings to mark the switch.

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

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