Sphere 25th June 2019 (Hardback)
Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. Only now they’re facing the most important decision of their lives – and they don’t agree.
As the consequences of an impossible choice threaten to devastate them both, nothing will ever be the same again. But anything can happen after the end.
Combining the depth of emotion that captivated readers of Me Before You, the structural ambition of Life After Life and the impossible choice at the heart of My Sister’s Keeper, Mackintosh’s powerful new novel contains her winning formula of compelling characters and a page-turning plot.
First huge thanks to Millie at Little, Brown for sending me the stunning slip cased proof of After the End. Told in 2 discrete parts and in the case of the proof, 2 distinct books titled Before and After.
Starting with Before we are introduced to Pip and Max and their son Dylan, not yet 3 years old and critically ill due to a brain tumor and in intensive care. Told mostly from alternating perspectives of Max and Pip we gain insight into the heartbreaking circumstances of these parents with a terminally ill child. We learn about the relationships formed in intensive care and we hear from Leila Khalili the Consultant in charge of Dylan’s care. Faced with a decision no parent should have to make regarding their child, Pip and Max cannot agree and the courts become involved.
The second book After follows the court decision but cleverly explores 2 different outcomes – Pip’s decision and Max’s. It’s impossible to say much more about this part without spoilers, but this book is heartbreaking. It reminded me of the dilemma’s often considered in Jodi Picoult’s books, the impossible and devastating choices some families have to make.
Very different from her other writing I was impressed with this book. Sensitively written with well developed characters. As stated previously mostly told from the perspectives of Max and Pip although the perspective of the Consultant is included Before. This book is sad but as stated by Mackintosh it is also about hope, what happens after and how people can and do move on from tragedy. Very relevant currently with some recent high profile cases in the media where parents have disagreed with medical teams on the plan for their child when this involves palliative care and withdrawal of life saving treatment. This book offers insight into the issues raised in a non judgemental and holistic way which is often lost in the sensational media reporting.
A beautiful, sad and warming read, definitely recommended by me.
About the Author
With over two million copies of her books sold worldwide, number one Sunday Times bestseller Clare Mackintosh is the multi-award-winning author of I Let You Go, I See You and Let Me Lie. Clare’s novels have been translated into over thirty-five languages and I Let You Go and I See You were selected for the Richard and Judy Book club.
Clare is patron of the Silver Star Society, a charity based at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, which supports parents experiencing high-risk or difficult pregnancies. She lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.