Monday, 10 December 2012

The View On The Way Down by Rebecca Wait

This novel will open your eyes
and break your heart.
It is the story of Emma’s two brothers:
the one who died five years ago,
and the one who left home on the day of the funeral and never came back.
It is the story of Emma’s parents,
who have been keeping the truth from her, and from each other.
It is the story of Emma herself,
caught in the middle and trying to work out how everything fell apart.
It is a story you will want to talk about
and one you will never forget.

The View On The Way Down by Rebecca Wait will be published by Picador on 11 April 2013.  This is the author's debut novel, she is twenty-four years old and she wrote the novel in the evenings whilst working as a teaching assistant the year after graduating.

I am really struggling to review this novel.  I'm not a writer and I am finding it difficult to find the words to express just how much I loved this story.

A little about the story;  a family; Mum, Dad and teenage Emma, struggling to deal with their lives after the death of eldest son Kit five years ago.  There is one other member of the family; second son Jamie, who is estranged from the rest of them and living in a drab flat in Sheffield.  Hundreds of miles away from his family and slowly descending into a world of his own.   Young Emma has never really known just what happened on the night that Kit died and finds her comfort in eating and in Jesus until one day the bullying and the unhappiness gets too much and she sets out to find Jamie.

The real beauty and genius of The View On The Way Down is in it's simplicity, the ease of Rebecca Wait's writing captures the reader from page one and doesn't let go.  However, don't be fooled by my talk of 'simplicity', this is a deeply moving and powerful story of a family that has been torn apart.  Four people who have been changed by the same tragic circumstance, yet are dealing with it in four very separate ways.

Each character is drawn so beautifully, from Kit's darkest depths of depressive illness, to Emma's child-like naivety.  The parents - Rose and Joe, so distant from each other, yet unable to let each other go.

Rebecca Wait
I could easily have read this novel in one setting, except for the fact that at times I was so moved, and so affected by the writing that I had to put it down, walk away and try to think of other things.  It's been a very long time since a fictional story has resonated so strongly with me.  Although this is at times almost unbearably heartbreaking, the strong feeling of brotherly love and loyalty that flows through also makes it an uplifting story.

Rebecca Wait is an extremely talented young author and I'm delighted to learn that Picador will be publishing her next novel, whenever that may be.

Once again, Picador have found another bright star of the future.  The 2013 publication list for Picador is exciting and much anticipated, Rebecca Wait is a fine addition to their list.


  1. Sounds like a cracker Anne. Eye-catching cover too - wonder if it's done by the people who did the original cover for Life & Death of Charlie St Cloud. Well done to Rebecca Wait - a major achievement and a name to wtch in the future.

  2. This sounds great Anne. What an interesting review. I will be adding this to my Amazon Wishlist.

  3. Sometimes the books we love the most are the hardest to review! This sounds interesting and I will definitely keep an eye out for it.