The Other Hand by CHRIS CLEAVE


Remember how the movie industry spoiled everything with trailers that showed all the best action shots, and the end? I won’t be summarising this book for you because the editor begs readers to keep the secret, in the same way that the film The Sixth Sense held its viewers. I can tell you that it’s the story of how the lives of two women collide and that it’s a fantastic read. I am always glad that when I saw The Hand that Rocks the Cradle I had no idea what it was about… and I am thankful to have discovered this book, this story – you will be too.

Shortlisted for the 2008 Costa Novel Award, The Other Hand reached out to me from the shelf of a charity shop.The Other Hand (UK edition)The book’s cover, a warm sunset on a beach with a child silhouetted; it impelled me to pick it up – everyone loves a sunset, and the image of a lone child in the dark against the expanse of sand and sky brings out the mother in us all. Well, that’s what attracted me in the first place and the lack of information was intoxicating.

From the minute I picked this book up I was unable to put it down. Chris Cleave wove a charm spell on it, fastening me to the narrators, tying me into their story. I was instantly hooked in the first chapter then a little disappointed when Chapter Two moved into another POV. But, it slowly drew me in and moved me to tears! Yes, tears by the end of the second chapter … and I’m a hard nut to crack – I don’t cry at the drop of a brick. Just before the tears I had a serious attack of heartburn and wouldn’t get up for a pill, so there was physical pain in my old heart as well as the emotional twist. Laugh, I nearly choked at some of the scenes.

Written in the first person, the story is immediately captivating; stunning, with a lot of humour that will pierce your soul. The writing is smoothly simple (except for a few unnecessary big words) and well-handled; each character takes her turn, chapter-by-chapter until we are running towards the end. My head is still full of it and I want to know more. I can imagine what happened next. God, sometimes this life is just so impossible to understand or accept – but it is what it is.

I can’t imagine that anyone would find difficulty in getting into this book. Take note: this is a story that everyone should read, and if you only ever read one book in your life then I hope this would be the one.

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3 thoughts on “The Other Hand by CHRIS CLEAVE

  1. Rosy says:

    How have I missed this, Irene? You sell it brilliantly.

  2. ireneintheworld says:

    Thanks Rosy 😉 It’s such a great read. I fell for the author and have ordered his other book. In this he writes two characters in first person, women! Quite convincingly I thought.

  3. I loved The Other Hand and I thought Chris Cleave did a excellent job with the two voices and the story was compelling. However, I do think it was over-hyped – to me it didn’t stand out as the one book everyone should read and I thought the note from the publisher at the beginning extolling the book’s virtues was pure marketing. It made me expect the earth, which the book – though really strong – didn’t deliver.

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