the other hand – chris cleave

The Other Hand

I finished this book with an overwhelming sense of “Oh”.

It’s easy for the blurb on the back to draw you in because it is so mysterious…”We don’t want to tell you what happens in this book.  It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it.”  It then goes on asking people not to tell their friends what happens once they have finished it.

Good marketing tactics but a bit disappointing when the actual book doesn’t live up to the exciting, mysterious expectations.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure why the cover couldn’t have given the usual background info – it didn’t warrant all the mystery.

I’m not sure if I will be damned by a plague of locusts, or lose my first born son if I tell a little more, but it is a risk I am willing to take.

The story centres around the lives of two women whose lives collide on a beach in Nigeria.  The circumstances of their meeting are the basis for the whole book, so I’m not going to go into that.  Sarah is a successful, married English woman who is on a holiday and Little Bee is the young Nigerian girl that she meets.

The story begins when Little Bee is being released from an Immigration Centre in Essex where she has been held for 2 years.  The book is based on the differences in culture, and what immigrants have to go through when they first come to our country as well as how people in this country react to them, and the difficulties they may face in their own country.  It’s also about how people deal with traumatic situations.

It wasn’t ‘eye-opening’, but it was a decent enough read (although sometimes the flowery language used by Little Bee annoyed me a bit too much), and it is slightly odd that a story told by two women was written by a man – I’m wondering whether that was why I never quite believed the voices.

I’d recommend reading it – but just as filler.


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