Wednesday, 12 December 2012



Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and Costa Novel of the Year, this international bestseller has become a reading group classic.

We don't want to tell you too much about this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it.

Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this:

This is the story of two women.
Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice.
Two years later, they meet again - the story starts there...

Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.

The book sets out to be deliberately opaque and mysterious...........ooh read this, don't tell anyone what happens it's so special, tell others about it but don't spoil it for them, etc etc etc.

A fantastic, thought-provoking read that stays with you for weeks and months afterwards, invading your thoughts at unexpected moments?

Or an extremely clever marketing ploy?

Being a grumpy, miserable cynic and having read the book - I choose marketing ploy.

Well then what to write...........A meets B and C, who are married to each other, at location X. D who is A's sister is present at the meeting, which is soon joined by E and another group we'll call the F's. A disagreement occurs. Fast forward a while, A contacts C, now in location Y. This upsets C greatly, and has a calamitous effect on him, B and her close friend G and her child H. The rest of the book introduces other minor characters that I shall refer to as I, J, K and L. (I might have missed out an M and a N, but none of these are major players, so don't worry too much.) The climax of the book involves A, B and H, along with some O's at location X.

Had the blurb presented the book in a more traditional fashion, I'm no marketing guru, but I would guess a fraction of the copies actually sold would have been. One of the characters in the book, G actually espouses the same opinion. The topic under debate, doesn't typically interest people, until such time as the right wing tabloids want to beat the drum and whip up some populist fury.
I would probably have passed it over.

That said, it was enjoyable enough, but perhaps I needed to be wearing my magician's cloak to feel the magic.Well, I wasn't.

3 from 5, must dash or I'll be late for Quidditch practise.

I do have another Cleave book on my shelf, Incendiary, as yet unread. I'm unsure what ploy enticed me to buy the book, but I'll need to check the blurb on the back to refresh my memory. I'm also unsure if my purchase of Incendiary predates my purchase of The Other Hand, not that it matters too much.

Seduced by the marketing fiends, I bought this new a few years ago.


  1. It's amazing, isn't it, Col, what marketing gurus can get you to do. I think I'll hold out for the moment; it just doesn't sound like my sort of story. And besides, Mt. TBR never seems to get lower....

    1. Margot, I did feel I was seduced/suckered but hey they did their job well on this occasion! And there's more worthy books for your TBR mountain.

  2. I read this one, Col, perhaps around the same time you did, and felt that if the publicity dept hadn't been trying to tell me how wonderful and special and different it was, I might have taken it as an interesting modern novel on contemporary issues. As it was, the hype did it no good in my eyes, and I had a grumpy reaction like yours.

    1. I kind of felt afterwards I should have been issued a badge saying SUCKER when I bought it. I've not rushed to the other one of his I have,