Happy Tuesday! I hope you’ve all had a good weekend and are having a fantastic week. There’s not a lot going on with me at the moment outside of decorating and planning more decorating. Thankfully I really enjoy doing it so it doesn’t feel like a hardship.
Thank you to @wnbooks and @Guillaume_Musso for this advanced copy of The Secret Life of Writers in return for an honest review. The Secret Life of Writers was published on 22nd July 2021 and you can get a copy here.
Nathan Fawles has celebrated a successful writing career. In 1999, with three very popular novels under his belt, he decided to drop it all and vows that he’ll never write again. He moves to the remote island of Beaumont and lives a solitary life.
In 2018, Swiss journalist Mathilde Monney arrives on Beaumont and is determined to delve into Nathan’s sudden decision to step away from the literary world and secure the first interview with him in twenty years. The same day that she arrives a woman’s body is found on the beach and this sets off a series of events that blur the lines between truth and fiction.
General Thoughts 🤔
This was a relatively short read (although it took me quite a bit of elapsed time to read it) and there was a lot that happened in such a short space of time. I have to say that by the end of it, I really was questioning what was real and what was fiction. I still don’t know and I think that was a really interesting spin on the story.
What I particularly liked about this book was the setting. The way that the author described the island of Beaumont made it sound so beautiful, I could picture myself there as I was reading. It sounded like the perfect retreat for a writer which is ironic given that Nathan had decided to never write again.
Due to the length of the book, I don’t feel like I had the opportunity to get particularly close to the characters, however some of them did strike a chord with me.
I liked Nathan a lot even though he came across as mean, anti-social and rude. It was obvious to me early on that he hadn’t just woken up one day and decided to quit writing for no reason. He was harbouring a lot of sour feelings and I thought it was unfortunate that he wasn’t able to share those with anyone. It did make a lot more sense at the end though.
I had mixed feelings about Mathilde. At first I thought she was a devious journalist trying to get a scoop with complete disregard for other people’s feelings and privacy. As the story started to unfold I realised that there was so much more to her character and her story and I started to empathise with her.
Writing Style ✍️
I really liked the way that this book was structured. It was almost like each chapter was broken down into mini chapters. I am always a fan of smaller chunks of stories as I feel like it keeps me engaged and makes me want to read more and faster.
As I alluded to, I really liked the twist in this book that made me question everything that I had read before it. What was real? What was fictional? Which characters were genuine and which were added for dramatic effect? Such a fantastic way to make the reader think hard about what they have read.
Conclusion & Scoring 🎖️
Overall I thought that this was a great short read. I wish that I had had the time to sit down and read it in one go as I think I would have been even more engrossed in it than I was. Books that leave the reader confused can sometimes leave me feeling a little bit frustrated, but The Secret Life of Writers didn’t make me feel like that and I put that down to some brilliant writing from this author.