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

£7.495
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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

RRP: £14.99
Price: £7.495
£7.495 FREE Shipping

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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. When their explorations lead them to the infamous Paris catacombs, they will finally be forced to face the secrets lurking in their past that illuminate the questions in their present. Intermittent scenes show episodes from this history that allow the reader glimpses of the threat that shadowed Tom and Billie through childhood. We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others.

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. I’m definitely categorising this one in the ‘sad girl reads’ section because it’s a pretty bleak and edgy take on family and grief. 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. 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.The novel is a serious and very accomplished examination of what it means to love and grieve for someone who might seem unlovable. When the narrative loops back to the protagonists’ earlier lives, her observations of the nine to five are hilariously unforgiving: “At work, Billie spends most of her time with Martin, her direct superior, a lumpy man of about forty-five with back problems that he refers to as often as possible. There was potential for some interesting explorations on family dynamics, domestic violence and complicated grief, but that didn't happen here.

The passage about how they used to try and make each other laugh in church particularly brought me back.A sensitive look at grief, families, ambition, anger and the complexity of loving and hating someone all at once.

Secondly, I think that the story could have used additional layers on top of the grief and resentment they were experiencing in the present day. 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. And the novel is a serious and very accomplished examination of what it means to love and grieve for someone who might seem unlovable. The only thing I would say (and it may well have been updated in the finished copies), was that it would’ve been helpful to have time frames detailed as it did jump around and you kind of had to guess when a flashback was etc. 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.As the setting for the climax of Imogen West-Knights’s subtle and compelling debut Deep Down, it is certainly fitting: in the wake of their father William’s death, the siblings begin to explore hidden and submerged memories from their childhood. Billie and Tom are not necessarily likeable characters, but as the story progresses with flashbacks to their childhood we start to understand why they’re a bit messed up and have such a tense relationship - they’ve both processed their father’s behaviour in a different way and are therefore handling his loss differently too. 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. Perhaps what is bravest about the novel’s artfully inconclusive ending is the painful acceptance that, with grief, there may never be a clear way out into the light. Dazed by grief, the siblings spend days wandering the streets, both helping and hurting each other in the process.

If you like stories of family, friendship and the power of grief I certainly wouldn’t be saying no this novel!

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.



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

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