Tuesday 12 September 2017

The Break by Marian Keyes @MarianKeyes @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks @FMcMAssociates

Amy's husband Hugh has run away to 'find himself'. But will he ever come back?
'Myself and Hugh . . . We're taking a break.'
'A city-with-fancy-food sort of break?'
If only.
Amy's husband Hugh says he isn't leaving her.
He still loves her, he's just taking a break - from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in South East Asia. And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it.
Yes, it's a mid-life crisis, but let's be clear: a break isn't a break up - yet . . .
However, for Amy it's enough to send her - along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers - teetering over the edge.
For a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns, if he returns, will he be the same man she married? Will Amy be the same woman?
Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then so is she . . .
The Break is a story about the choices we make and how those choices help to make us. It is Marian Keyes at her funniest, wisest and brilliant best.

The Break by Marian Keyes was published in hardback by Michael Joseph / Penguin on 7 September 2017 - my thanks to the publisher and FMcM who provided my copy for review.

Oh. My. Goodness.    Where should I start?  What should I say?  The Break is one of my most anticipated books of the year. I've been a fan of Marian Keyes for over twenty years, I've followed her through all of her novels, through her ups and her downs, watched her vlogs, subscribed to her mailing list .... all of those. She's one of those people who are just so naturally funny whilst talking about quite mundane and everyday things, she makes me smile.  She also brings a lump to my throat at times; whether it's through her fiction, or when reading about her own life - she's a complete and utter genius with words. A pleasure to read.

The Break is a huge novel; over 550 pages in the hardback edition - it's hefty, but for God's sake, don't let that put you off .... if you really find it a bit heavy, please buy the ebook - don't miss out because this novel is just too good to skip.

Lead character Amy is a fabulous feisty woman in her mid forties. Married to Hugh with two daughters and one niece who lives with them. Their extended family is vast, and eccentric and eclectic. There's a teenage beauty vlogger, a Poor Bastard who never speaks. There is Pop who doesn't recognise anyone and LOCMOF, or Granny who is finding a whole new world full of glitter and lipstick and the internet, and is, quite possibly, one of the most wonderful characters ever created.

A large, diverse family, full of exquisitely created characters who each have a role to play, there is no padding here, none at all. They all fit, every single one.

As the title indicates, and the book blurb tells; The Break is the story of Amy and Hugh's mid-marriage break. It's Hugh's break really as Amy had no idea it was coming and spends much of the first few chapters like a rabbit in the headlights. Hugh does go off though, with a rucksack, to the other side of the world and Amy is left with her online shopping habit, her vintage clothes and the mounting problems and issues facing her and her family.

I couldn't help but picture Amy as Marian. I heard her voice, I saw her face - the voice is so wonderfully done and the humour at times is essentially Keyes. This author's ability to portray that wonderful Irish sense of fun and turn of phrase is perfectly executed throughout the novel; I laughed til I was sore at times.

However, The Break is not all fun and laughter. Marian Keyes cleverly includes many serious and relevant issues within her story, both social and personal. Her clever interpretation of the grieving process and the impact of this on a family is so perfectly put together, and as the story progresses the reader learns more about both Amy and Hugh's background. Their losses and their struggles over the years and how they've come to cope with them, and how they've affected their relationship.
The author also looks at the issue of abortion in Ireland and how the state still dictates what a woman can and can't do with her own body. Delicately and sympathetically handled, yet brutal and honest; there are issues within this beautiful story that will anger and shock the reader.

Marian Keyes' writing is honest, funny, and always moving. Her ability to create such depth alongside laugh-out-loud comedy is incredible. She surely is one of the finest authors of our time.
The Break comes highly recommended by me, one of my favourite books of the year, probably the decade.  Bravo!

Marian Keyes' international bestselling novels include Rachel's Holiday, Last Chance Saloon, Sushi for Beginners, Angels, The Other Side of the Story, Anybody Out There, This Charming Man and The Woman Who Stole My Life. 

Three collections of her journalism, Under the Duvet, Further Under the Duvet and Making It Up as I Go Along, are also available from Penguin. 

Marian lives in Dublin with her husband.

Find out more about Marian Keyes at her website www.mariankeyes.com
Follow her on Instagram
Find her on Twitter @MarianKeyes

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