5 / 5 Stars
An engrossing, thought-provoking examination of what happens after catastrophe - how communities come together, and pull apart.
This was another of those books that I went into with absolutely no idea what to expect. The front cover certainly wasn't giving anything away! Sometimes, those are the most fun books of all - the ones you begin with no preconceptions, then end up heartily enjoying.
Nightingale Point is a 'typical' block of flats - it has its residents, who for the most part, get along in relative harmony. However, frictions are established early on; between teenage Tristan and Elvis (a man with severe learning difficulties), and between Malachi (Tristan's older brother) and his girlfriend's father.
Then, out of the blue, calamity hits the block of flats. In a nightmarish twist of events, the residents must somehow not only survive the terrible event, but build another life in the aftermath. The question is - will they be the same person afterwards?
The author explicitly talks about being inspired by a similar event in the Netherlands - not to mention Grenfell in the UK (for non-UK readers, this was a hideous event where several people in a block of flats lost their lives, all because contractors had got away with putting the wrong cladding on the front).
I was reminded of Grenfell throughout this book, because it made me realise afresh how nightmarish that whole incident must have been for those involved. The author does a great job of putting the reader right in the heart of the action, in a sweeping, quite cinematic way. She also captures not only the negatives of such a horrendous event, but the positives too - and how sometimes, people are capable of taking calamity and generating personal strength and determination from it.
A really different, interesting read - definitely a welcome change from a lot of the 'cookie-cutter' identikit books out there at the moment.
About the Author
Luan Goldie was born in Glasgow but has lived in East London for most of her life.
She is a primary school teacher, and formerly a business journalist. She is the winner of the Costa Short Story Award 2017 for her story ‘Two Steak Bakes and Two Chelsea Buns’. Her short stories have also been long and short listed by Spread the Word and the Grazia/Women’s Prize First Chapter competition.
Nightingale Point is her debut novel.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the publisher and the author for sending it over.