Book Review: Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton
August 4, 2013 23 Comments
This story is told by a woman, Grace, who is in a coma in hospital. She has an outer-body experience and discovers that her daughter, 17-year old Jenny, is in the exact same situation. Together, they look around the hospital and listen in on conversations between their family, friends, police, and others, as these are trying to discover what exactly happened.
Grace and Jenny know part of the story, but Jennifer can’t remember all that happened: they were at the private school where Grace’s young son is a pupil and Jenny is working temporarily as an assistant. That day, a fire started in the school, and Grace went inside the burning building to recover Jenny, whom she knew was still inside. Both are badly burned.
Afterwards: What I thought
This was a really good book, although at first I had my doubts about the “ghost” that was telling the story. An outer-body experience sounds OK, but one that lasts for hours and in which the person can travel in a car to different places? It was rather odd. Also, even though they are not in their bodies, Grace and Jenny could see, hear, and smell everything they were near, and, maybe weirdest of all, they could talk to each other and keep each other company!
But if you look beyond that, it’s a well set-out mystery with some medical drama, because it’s far from certain that both mother and daughter will wake up from their coma. They are severely wounded, and spend most of their time outside their body. They follow Mike, the husband and father, around, who talks to some of the people involved in the school or in the investigation for arson. Mike’s sister is a policewoman, so she is an interesting person for them to follow, too, as she researches the case.
(Too) conveniently, a lot of the questioning is done at the hospital so the two comatose women don’t have to travel far. The eventual outcome of the investigation was a little too complex for me, involving more people than I think was necessary.
But the reading experience was good, and I enjoyed the rather strange narrator (a comatose woman out of her body). This reminded me a little of Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, which also involves people moving in and out of bodies.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (good to very good)
Number of pages:
First published: 2012
I got this: I won this book from the Dutch publishers, in the Dutch translation, Later.