Thursday 10 March 2016

When We Were Alive by C J Fisher

When we first meet Bobby, he is a shy, 12-year-old magician who falls in love with his best friend.
William is consumed with self-hate and drinks to escape the memories of his father's sadness and his mother's death.
 Myles is writing letters to a mother he has never met.
Three different people from three different times each explore the dark side of relationships, search for beauty in sadness and try to bear the burden of guilt from living in a world we are powerless to fix.

When We Were Alive by C J Fisher was published in paperback by Legend Press on 1 March 2016, and is the author's debut novel.

This is a slim novel, telling the story of three male characters, three very different characters from very different times. The author has chosen to tell their stories using a mixture of the first and third person, and this is a clever way to help the reader to distinguish between the voices.

Twelve-year-old Bobby is entranced by everything to do with magic, his story is set in the 1930s. Myles is the only modern-day character and we learn about him and his life through the letters that he writes to his mother, and then there is William; an alcoholic, his story takes place in the 1970s.

CJ Fisher has an astute mind, and her writing is poetic and flows beautifully. She does, however, tend to drift off into overly-wordy and descriptive passages which for me, were both distracting and unnecessary. Despite this, I hugely admire the skill of this debut author, she's incredibly perceptive about relationship and the impact that actions can have on others, and how generations can be affected by things that have been done in the past.

I've heard that CJ Fisher has drawn upon her own experiences when writing this book, and there is a haunting quality to the words and the story, with sadness, loss and longing lingering between each character. There is also a sparkle of wit interspersed which brings a welcome lightness to what could quite possibly be an overwhelming read.

This is a strong and admirable debut novel from a young author who obviously has great talent. Her words are rich and poetic and the novel is structured very well. I will be very interested to read her next book.

My thanks to the publisher, Legend Press who sent my review copy as part of the Legend 100 Club.

C J Fisher has a Master's degree in Film from Exeter University, since graduating she has worked as a video editor, movie critic, social media manager, and creative content producer, as well as presenting talks on new media to charities and brands.

C J vlogs as Ophelia Dagger, with over 30,000 subscribers on YouTube. 

When We Were Alive was inspired by events in her own life.

For all the latest news, thoughts and announcements, visit C J's website
Follow her on Twitter @OpheliaDagger


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