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The Death of the Poet by N Quentin Woolf

01/06/2014

One of the best things that has come of my blog is the great new books I get to read and just recently I've been truly spoilt with a string of superb novels, this is one of them.

I don't really know how to sum up this book without spoiling it for you, it is the story of  John Knox, a young man living his life in San Francisco, his career, his friends, his family and how his life changes when he meets the love of his life Rachel McAllister.

She is bright and intelligent and funny, he has met his match, she won't come easy but he has fallen totally and completely in love with her.

This is a love story, it is the story that John has written for Rachel, to explain everything to her and ultimately what he is expressing is how important she was.

The book isn't an easy read, not at all, this love story is hardly the thing fairy tales are made of. It covers some really tough subjects, war, mental illness, spousal abuse, death and new life. It is brutally honest and covers these topics, that are all too often swept under the carpet, in a brilliant way.

Every page of the book is so descriptive, it wraps you up and takes you away, it's impossible not to get lost in it. I could picture myself in the mists of San Francisco, the cold of Ontario and the greyness of London.

Despite the already deep complexities of the book, there is an added layer when John finds the diaries of a veteran from the 1st World War, their lives lived so far apart have been entwined, the similarities between injuries suffered on both the battlefields of France and the battlefield of home that John has been living in, the places travelled and emotions felt are striking and in many ways allow John to come to terms with his life.

This book is sad and moving, it's brilliantly beautiful, very clever and doesn't shy away from anything. A book of contrasts that is sure to bring controversy and deep discussion. It is deeply personal, you almost feel like you are intruding on their lives, it didn't stop me reading though, I was  desperate to turn each page to find out what would happen.

Available from Amazon for £9.79 it's well worth a look.

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