This is Not a Novel, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Johnny, an outstanding young swimmer, went missing nearly thirty years ago: drowned, or so everyone except his sister Imogen believes.

How could this have happened? Encouraged, pushed even, from a child by his father, Johnny could have made the Olympic team, couldn't he?

As Imogen gradually pieces together bits of her family history, we hear the tragic echoes that connect her with the Great War and Ireland in the nineteen-twenties.




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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

It is, in fact, a novel. It's a pretty OK novel. I wasn't stunned by it, though. What it DOES have is a good set of twisted personal relationships. What's the matter with it, then? Well, to be honest, I'm kind of sick of books about sad modern ladies who know too much about their great-grandmothers or whatever. I feel as though this idea of repeated fate through female generations is a tired trope in contemporary fiction, and I would like it to go away. I was more interested in the problems surrounding the modern-day characters than in the ones surrounding their World War One analogues. But whatever. It was OK.

Review by

Well, it is a novel, just one told from a first-person point of view and written as an open letter. Imogen's brother is supposedly dead (drowned), but because he is a champion swimmer, she doesn't believe it, and so she writes the book hoping he'll read it and come home. The timeline jumps back and forth, which at times was confusing, but it all came together at the end. There is a mess of family relationships, digging through great-grandmother's history, and some time spent in a mental institution. I found that half-way through the novel I wasn't sure I was enjoying it, but I kept reading because it was so short. In the end I was surprised by some of the twists, but not by others, and overall it was a good read.

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