Alicia Berenson lived a seemingly perfect life until one day six years ago.
When she shot her husband in the head five times.
Since then she hasn’t spoken a single word.
It’s time to find out why.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I had been trying to read this book for months and finally got the chance a few weeks ago. I can honestly say it was well worth the wait, and I now want to read it again. Just to see how well I was duped! The outcome of the original and well written book was one that I definitely didn’t see coming.
The novel consists of a diary written by Alicia, accounts of the consultations between her and her therapist Theo, insight into Theo’s private life and the politics in the increasingly dubious Grove establishment where Alicia spends her life. It was one of those novels where I struggled to work out how I felt about the characters. Everybody who came into contact with Alicia seemed to dislike her, but from her diary I struggled to see why. The more I read, the more inclined I was to disregard their opinions.
Theo was an enigma. Obviously deeply affected by his childhood and facing problems in his marriage I felt I only saw the real character when he opened up to Ruth. In his interactions with his work colleagues and the other patients he seemed cold, aloof and demanding. None of the staff at The Grove seemed like they really cared about their patients. All of them seemed more interested in their own standing or making sure that procedures were being adhered to by the centre manager. It was slightly unsettling at times how uncaring it seemed.
The ending was a complete shock and was very clever. Out of everything I expected to read it wasn’t this. Even better that it all worked and made sense. It will make an excellent movie.
Today, I have an extract for you but also I have three copies for an INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY. All you need to do is either share or like the post and I will select the winners by a random number generator on Friday 11th October.
About The Book
Aaron and Stella spend every summer at their grandparents’ house, playing on the beach in the day, and eating sushi at night. One evening, the children try some special sushi which transports them to an alternate universe The Land of the Mind, a place traditionally governed by maths and quantum physics, which is being taken over by evil and chaos.
With the many different areas in the Land of the Mind being ruled over by the Dark Lords of Intolerance, Fear, Pride, Indifference, Betrayal and Despair, the children are tasked with rescuing the Book of Understanding, which contains all the rules on how to live a good life.
Chosen because of their relationship to the Golden Ratio known as Phi (1.618), Aaron and Stella travel on a Phi-Flyer and are guided by a wise raven called Sophie (who is both a particle and a wave). The children must learn how to navigate the infinite dimensions of quantum physics to save the Land of the Mind from falling into the hands of chaos.
“In the world where you live there are four dimensions; length, height, width and time. In the Land of the Mind, however, there are also the infinite dimensions of good and evil. Until you do something bad you are in the dimension of good and the Wasabi warriors have no power over you. As soon as you do one evil deed, however, you immediately fall into the dimension of evil and they will then have full power over you. Servants of the Black Queen can appear and disappear at will. Connections exist in the mental space between the Mushi.”
Both children shook there heads in unison, causing Salmon Mushi to let out a small sigh of frustration before pulling himself together to think of a better way to explain the concept of quantum law.
“We are mentally connected to those we love,” he said, “as well as to our friends and acquaintances, and even some objects. These connections can vary in their power and their levels of activity, but an evil act will always culminate in an explosion and the destruction of positive mental connections.”
“So how do we get to this mountain?” Aaron asked, trying to focus on practical details which he felt he could master.
“You must pass through the zones of the Black Queen’s Leaders, and defeat them. Then you must climb Memory Mountain and open the doors to the cave where the Book is kept. You will travel in a phi-flyer which will be given to you by the Supreme Ruler. While inside it you will be completely protected. It will appear and disappear and move only according to the will of the Supreme Ruler.
“Before you arrive in each of the of Black Queen’s Leaders’ countries, the phi-flyer will give you the weapons and the tools you will need to be victorious. The wise raven, Sophie, will always be at your side. She is the envoy of the three main leaders and will advise you in any difficult situations you encounter.”
“A wise raven?” Aaron rolled his eyes towards his sister.
“Sophie the raven is can be both a particle and a wave, whichever way she decides at the time. She can also appear and disappear at any point in mental space.”
“How can something be a particle and a wave at the same time?” Aaron’s head was beginning to ache from the effort of concentration.
“That is another characteristic of a quantum world. I’ll give you an example. If you take a plate with two slots, place a screen behind it and fire an electron in the direction of the slots, what do you think will happen?”
“The electron will probably pass through one of the slots,” Stella answered for her brother.
“That would seem logical,” Salmon Mushi agreed, “and then you might expect an imprint of the electron, like that of the tennis ball, will appear on the screen behind the slot. But in fact that is not what will happen. A series of dark and light stripes will form on the screen behind the slot.”
“And what does that mean?” Aaron asked.
“It means that the electron behaves like a wave and will pass through both slots at the same time.”
“That’s impossible!” Both children said at once.
“It may be unimaginable to you, but it is a fact. And that is not all. If measuring devices are placed near each slot the behaviour of the electron will change. In that case it will behave like a tennis ball and pass through one slot or the other.”
“But why does that happen?” Aaron asked.
Salmon Mushi was pleased to have finally caught their attention so thoroughly. “There are many possible explanations, but no one knows the precise reason.”
“Why a raven?” Stella asked.
“You remember the first phi-flyer that I told you about and the man who survived the flood with a variety of animals?” They nodded. “Well, when the waters receded he let out a raven, because ravens are highly intelligent. Its task was to return to tell the man what had happened to the world while they were in the phi-flyer. That raven was called Sophie.
Kit doesn’t understand why his family has been uprooted to a remote coastal village in the North. Why did they leave so suddenly, and why has his Dad not joined them? At Askfeld Farm Guesthouse he meets an eclectic group of new neighbours and forms an unlikely friendship with Beth, who suffers from a chronic illness he does not understand. Kit learns that Beth, who cannot leave the guesthouse, is trying to draw a map from memory that shows all her favourite childhood haunts. Kit makes it his quest to help her remember by visiting places for her and hopes to solve the problems of the other guests along the way. But becoming a hero like the ones in his favourite books is trickier than it seems, especially when Kit has failed to grasp so much of what is happening around him… Can Kit work out that the person who really needs his help is much closer to home?
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. A Map Of The Sky is the type of book I choose to read when I need a break from crime fiction. It tells the story of the Fisher family who have moved to the North for reasons that are unexplained. Kit, with his desire to be the hero that he reads about in his books has his theories why. As you read you discover if he is correct about that and the people he meets.
I loved everything about this novel. The characters, Kit’s explanations for what is happening to his new friends and his way of helping them. And his many mistakes. The nature, and the way it can heal, the hunt for the albatross and the almost overwhelming levels of humanity.
Kit was an amazing character. He misses his Dad, misses his relationship that he read with Juliet before she became obsessed with exams and his innocent analysis of problems that the older ones around have. Because it is told from the view of an eleven year old boy it is different to what I usually read and I loved it.