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After the End: The powerful, life-affirming novel from the Sunday Times Number One bestselling author Paperback – 28 July 2020
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A beautifully written novel, compelling and clever, tender and true. I can't stop thinking about it -- Liane Moriarty
A moving and thought-provoking novel. Cleverly written, with hope as well as heartbreak -- Libby Page, author of The Lido
Unforgettable and profoundly moving, this is a novel about the bottomless human capacity for love and endurance, even in the most heartbreaking circumstances -- Rosie Walsh, author of The Man Who Didn't Call
Such a perfectly poised novel, with authentic heart and depth, that examines the worst moments of our lives, and still somehow uncovers hope and the indomitable strength of the human spirit. Everyone should read this beautiful book -- Rowan Coleman, author of The Summer of Impossible Things
Moving and thought-provoking ― Independent
Amazing, heart-wrenching . . . an absolute must-read -- Mike Gayle
One of the most moving stories I have ever read. It's perfect -- Joanna Cannon
I read After the End in one emotional sitting. It's beautiful, original, moving and thought-provoking -- Sinead Crowley
An exquisite novel - tragic, clever, life-affirming and original all at once -- Catherine Isaac
A powerful exploration of grief, love and the way in which all decisions - both large and small - can have life-changing results. -- Jill Santopolo, New York Times bestselling author of The Light We Lost and More Than Words
Impressive, thoughtful, authentic and moving -- Jill Childs
A tender, heart-breaking, uplifting, truthful marvel of a novel. Clare Mackintosh has taken her already wonderful writing to a whole new level -- Adele Parks
Clare Mackintosh takes us on a heart-rending, vivid journey through one of the toughest situations a parent could face - she's Britain's answer to Jodi Picoult -- Lucy Atkins
This is the most moving book I have read this year. After the End made me cry but in the best possible way. I felt I was there, right inside the pages, wanting to hug each character. Put this on the top of your list. You won't regret it -- Jane Corry
After the End is a gorgeously written and sincerely moving novel. First it broke my heart, but then helped put it back together in unexpected ways. I know it will preoccupy my thoughts for a long time to come -- Rhiannon Navin, author of Only Child
Have just finished Clare Mackintosh's extraordinary, heartrending life-lesson of a book - it is an absolute tour de force. Everyone should read After the End -- Jill Mansell
So delicately balanced and never indulgent. So perfect -- Veronica Henry
A heart-wrenching, character-driven story ― Best
A heart-rending story, superbly executed -- Rachel Abbott
Beautiful, sumptuous and tender, this story is one of parents and impossible decisions. Completely relevant to today's issues, this delicately personal and heart-wrenching tale is a tribute to human spirit ― Magic Radio Book Club
A breath-taking and powerful story . . . Riveting ― Sunday Post
Captivating . . . tailor-made for book clubs and for fans of Jodi Picoult ― Publisher's Weekly
An astonishing read that reaches into our very souls, turns us inside out, leaves us weeping, and yet hoping for a brighter future -- Liz Nugent
This deeply moving tale . . . leaves no emotion unturned ― iNews
Mackintosh's depiction of the long-distance loneliness, grit-eyed exhaustion and beleaguered hopes of the parent of a terminally ill child are moving. Yet this is a life-affirming story, too, in its richly drawn depiction of the Iranian consultant Leila's background or its scarred central characters' re-emergence blinking into the world ― Sunday Times
Cleverly structured to look at both sides of a heart-breaking situation, this thought-provoking book draws upon the author's experiences, and manages to feel both personal and universal ― Sun on Sunday, Fabulous Magazine
This stunning book is something of a departure for bestselling thriller writer mackintosh, who questions what it costs to stand up for what you believe in ― Daily Mail
A complex structure exploring future alternative outcomes invests you hugely in their struggle - leaving you wondering "what would i do?" Moving without being mawkish, this will linger long in the memory ― Sunday Mirror
A heart-rending read and will have you debating what you would do in the same situation. A perfect book club choice ― Prima
Heart-breaking . . . deftly handled . . . [After the End] shows that in devastating, complex situations, there is no right answer. ― Daily Express
Prepare to have your heart broken ― Woman & Home
Deeply moving and page-turning . . . tailor-made for book clubs ― VIP Magazine
A heart-wrenching tale - but it is also a story bursting with courage, hope and so much love ― Sun
The bestselling author of I Let You Go shows that in these devastating, complex situations, there is no right answer ― Daily Mirror Book of the Week
Searing, emotional depth . . . an important story ― Sunday Express
Deeply moving . . . no emotion is left unturned . . . While there's no denying this is a relentlessly sad novel - it's far from an easy read - you will feel uplifted by the end ― Nottingham Post
(An) emotional read . . . Poignant ― Good Housekeeping Books of the Month
I haven't read a book that's moved me so much for years. After the End does something incredible, it made me cry yet uplifted me. A beautifully written, astonishing work. -- Kate Hamer
A beautifully written and thought-provoking tale . . . A must-read. ― Woman's Weekly
Brilliant ― The Sun
I promise you will weep during this beautifully sad book ― Woman's Way
- Publisher : Sphere; 1st edition (28 July 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0751564915
- ISBN-13 : 978-0751564914
- Dimensions : 12.6 x 2.8 x 19.6 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 119,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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Mackintosh is a fantastic writer, so it comes as little surprise that she presents us with true-to-life believable characters who are trapped in this sort of nightmare. Pip and Max’s three year old son Dylan has terminal brain cancer and is currently in PICU. The doctors feel that further treatment is futile because it would not be able to cure Dylan, and the effects of the would be so devastating that he would be severely brain damaged. Pip agrees. Max doesn’t. He wants to try proton treatment to prolong Dylan’s life, even knowing that Dylan will never be able to lead a normal life for the time he has left. So where do you go from there? If the parents cannot agree, a judge will have to step in to make a decision as to what is best for Dylan.
As you can see, as much as the book will break your heart, there are also some valid ethical questions at play here. Max reasons that any life is worth living, even one where Dylan will be severely brain damaged. He feels that Dylan would still be able to feel some joy, and the love of his parents, and any extra time they could have with him would be worth the rigours of the treatment. Pip disagrees. She thinks her son has suffered enough already and she doesn’t think he should exist in a state where he is not able to live a fulfilling existence. She does not want to put him through any more pain. So who is right and who is wrong? I think you could debate this for hours, days, years and still not come up with an answer. So how can a judge decide?
As the title suggests, the second half of the book focuses on the time “after the end”, meaning after Dylan’s death. Two separate options are explored, determined by the judge’s ruling. It was a clever “alternative universe” type concept that also shows that life will go on, even though Dylan’s death may seem like the end of life as they know it for both parents.
To lend a impartial perspective to the narrative, the POV of a doctor caring for Dylan is also included, a voice I really enjoyed. It also showed the human side of the medical team caring for terminally ill children, and that they are not unaffected by their charges’ fates.
As the story goes, this could never be anything other than heartbreaking, and it will be a strong trigger for anyone who has ever been in a similar situation or is vulnerable in some way through the death of a loved one. For a bookclub, it would make for some fantastic discussions around the ethical issues and the outfall of the judge’s decision. Purely judged as a novel, I found that the second half dragged in places for me and lost my interest at times. I found it interesting how Pip and Max’s lives went on after losing their son, but felt that too much time was spent on the part of the story where the reader is emotionally drained from exploring their own emotions regarding Dylan’s death and his parents’ terrible dilemma.
Am I glad that I read it? Yes, definitely. It was thought-provoking and confronting and challenged some of my own beliefs. Would I recommend it to anyone? That depends – it is a sad and often depressing read, so if you are vulnerable at the moment be aware that there will be triggers. I loved the way the author was able to present both parents’ different views in a non-biased manner that allows readers to reflect on both options without being steered in the direction of the author’s own opinions. Most other authors who tackle this type of subject manner do so with an agenda, which refreshingly was absent here, allowing the reader to come to understand both parents and why they felt the way they did. I hope that writing this novel was a cathartic for the author and thank her for sharing such a personal, painful issue with us!
Top reviews from other countries
I've watched and read many sad stories before. And the story is a ride of ups, downs and the occasional bit of relief to tide you over for the next essential piece of the sad story - we are reading or watching a story for entertainment and/or to learn something. There has to be some relief or it's torture.
This read feels like a punch of sadness with a slap of harrowing followed by a nudge of incomprehension for the characters life changing pain.
Its a good premise. We have all seen these types of real stories in the news and the author I believe has had a personal tragedy / But the book is a very difficult read because it's just so-so gut wrenchingly sad! Consistently. Even Shindlers List provided some pieces of restbite.
A good book for those that enjoy weeping and feeling miserable. And I'm not being funny as I do know people who lap up sad stories real or fictional, like it's ice cream. I'm just not one of them.
Dylan is Max and Pip's two year old son. He has brain damage as a result of a tumour that couldn't be fully removed. Max and Pip now face the unenviable task of deciding between giving Dylan treatment which may prolong his life, but not cure him. Or, provide him with palliative care until he dies. A heart-rending decision ♥️
"Dylan’s brain damage is irreparable. If he lives, he will not walk or talk. He will not be able to communicate his needs, or even his feelings. Those are basic human functions, and my opinion – both as a doctor and as a fellow human being – is that there is little life without those functions."
The story is told from the points of view of Max and Pip. And understandably this can be hard to read, Macintosh writes so beautifully, and the emotions come flooding through the pages.
We also get the added point of view of Doctor Leila Khalili. I liked her chapters as we got to see the medical and professional side of the story. Also, it was an insight into how cases similar to Dylan can have an effect on the professional people who care for them.
Max and Pip can't come to a joint decision, so, it's up to the courts to decide. And this is where the story takes on a different path.
"You can fight and fight for what you want to happen, but sometimes it’s just time. Sometimes you have to know when to give up."
As I have already said Macintosh has a way with words. This book makes you stop and think 😊
I'm glad I attended the book's launch 😊 as it was a more insightful aspect to the book, and put things into perspective.
I pre ordered this because I'm a big fan of Clare Mackintosh
I am not surprised her pain is personal, as is mine
This book should be a must read for everyone, bereaved or not.
Such hope and inspiration about the power of love and the human spirit.
The power of instinct . about feelings and our ability to survive
I am very moved by the absolute healing of this woman's courage.
I wish you and your family love as peace and serenity unfold you all
Cannot really express the effect your amazing truths have had
P!ease share this