- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 2563 KB
- Print Length: 325 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1542018994
- Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (1 November 2019)
- Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07V28WSHR
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 1,329 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #47 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Other Son Kindle Edition
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|Length: 325 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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About the Author
Nick Alexander was born in 1964 in the UK. He has travelled widely and has lived and worked in the UK, the USA and France, where he resides today. In 2015, The Other Son was named by Amazon as one of the best fiction titles of the year; The Photographer's Wife, published in 2014, was a number one hit in both the UK and France; while The Half-Life of Hannah is the fourth-bestselling independently published Kindle title of all time. Nick's novels have been translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian, Turkish and Croatian. Nick lives in the South of France with his partner, three friendly cats (plus one mean one) and a few trout.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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This is a book that I can recommend on many levels. Not only is it beautifully written (as are all books I've read by Nick Alexander - he certainly has a gift) but it shows how each member of a family unit is damaged by abuse and how that harsh upbringing impacts their future relationships and what they consider acceptable and normal.
With sensitivity ‘The Other Son’ shows that despite growing up within an abusive environment we are all responsible for ourselves and and that happiness is attainable regardless of what life may serve.
Read it. It's totally rewarding. Even if bits are uncomfortable you will be thinking about it for days....
I hope there is more if this story to come?
The children suffer and it changes who they are.
The brave woman involved and her journey to free herself.
Worth a read !
Top international reviews
The characters are briliantly observed, I really like the way that the reader is led along a path by one character in their description of another and then is made to see the other side of that relationship when the narration turns to the other character. This was particularly true of Natalya, who seemed quite a cool and distant daugher in law when described by Alice but then turned out to be one of my favourite characters in the book.
It is an excellent portrayal of family relationships, I am sure will strike a chord with many readers as it certainly did with me - I recognised several of my own family in there.
I've just noticed that there is a short story as a sequel to this book and can't wait to read it as The Other Son leaves you at a point of just wanting to know more.
Ken and 69-yearold Alice Hodgetts have been unhappily married for fifty years. Ken is a boor, and, as we find out later, can be extremely violent when he is angry. They have two sons: Tim, a successful financier, who is married to Russian-born Natalya, who appears unfriendly to Alice allows her no joy from her grandchildren; and Matt, who has been a dropout from university, then from about ten jobs – some quite decent ones - before he went abroad somewhere: she hasn’t seen him for three years, and has always worried about him. Alice reflects on her dreary and joyless life, as Ken and she drive to the funeral of a former colleague of Ken’s in the tyre-remoulding business.
We have seen Alice as victim; but there is also another view of her. Tim dutifully sees his parents from time to time. These may both boast to other people about his achievements; but both of them are incapable of showing their approval of him, which he longs for. So he is always in a foul mood afterwards. Natalya has to suffer silently from Alice’s fault-finding.
Tim and Natalya are very well off, but both lust after an ever-more luxurious way of living – Natalya because she has come from a very poor background, has grown up in an orphanage, and had worked in a hostess club in London, where Tim had met her. Natalya feels very insecure. A house even more magnificent than their current splendid one is on the market. They buy it, but do not feel comfortable in it. There are two superbly described scenes of the tension between Tim and his parents and also between Tim and Natalya.
Alice’s friend Dot, of whom Ken does not approve, is also in a bad marriage. She has left her husband and thinks Alice ought to leave Ken. Alice can’t bring herself to do this, but she puts some money she has kept in cash into a Nationwide account. There will be a violent climax when Ken discovers that she has done this, which forces Alice to leave home. She first flees to Tim’s house, but he doesn’t want to get involved: he has always been frightened by his father, and says that fighting is just “what they do” and have done for as long as he can remember.
Finally we meet “the other son”: Matt, now forty-two, has a part-time job in a restaurant above Aix-en-Provence. He is in a loving homosexual relationship with the handsome Canadian, Bruno Campbell, 29. Bruno is the - as it turns out later - adopted son of loving parents who run an art gallery and let him live, rent-free, in a summer-house they own and which he shares with Matt. We learn about Matt’s childhood, how he had suffered from Ken’s violence towards him and Tim, and especially about a traumatic event when he was eleven, involving a dog and an especially violent outburst of Ken’s. It was a life-changing event for him, and ultimately led to him cutting loose from his parents, and, in due course, finding happiness with Bruno.
Alice eventually finds refuge from Ken with Matt in France. She arrives here as her usual fault-finding self, and is at first shocked by finding her son in a homosexual relationship. But Bruno not only wins her over, but gently tells her that she would be happier if she didn’t criticize so much and would not always look on the negative side of things. Eventually she takes this on board, becomes happier than she has ever been, and comes to realize that, in his spartan way, Matt, too, is happier than the money-mad Tim and Natalya can ever be. She no longer has to worry about him and can even tell him that she is proud of him.
I hadn't paid much attention to who the author was when I downloaded it and was surprised when I finished to find that it was a man . Yes I know that says more about me than the author! I was also surprised to find I had read two further books of his in the past one of which (The photographers wife ) I had enjoyed very much.
I felt as if I knew Alice. She has been married to Ken for a long time and has two grown up sons but it doesn't seem to enjoy a particularly happy or fulfilling life. Ken is one of these men who have to control everything, not just the finances but also who his wife socialises with. He is a bully. One of her sons is successful, married with two sons. He and his wife place great importance on material wealth. The other son has always been different, has been travelling and is now living abroad. Alice hasn't seen him for a while. While reading the book I felt a few emotions: anger, frustrations, sadness, happiness, worry, sympathy.
Initially I thought I had much of the story worked out as it seemed quite predicable but in a good way. However there are a couple of nice twists. It is quite a neat ending but it is also open enough to leave the possibility of a further book.
It didn't take me long to read the book (not that it's particularly short). That just meant I spent most of the day reading instead of cleaning the house!
The other son is damaged but finding healing in a cabin in the mountains with someone who is so solid and well adjusted but who by rights should be the most damaged !! The gentle twist of the past love Joe is subtle and sweet and Alice's recovery from bitter judgmental woman to a chilled happier person is just beginning - May she be a beacon of hope to abused women everywhere , they can escape and that they deserve better .
The book explores the challenges and inner turmoil of a family with honesty.
There is a lot of pain brought about from the inability of some characters to be honest, due to fear, ignorance and social acceptance.
I must admit to being surprised on discovering where Tim moved to and rather doubting the credibility of the choice. The interaction of the characters was very credible though and the relationships in France were a delightful contrast , bringing Alice comfort and positive thinking for her future.
Loved the cat descriptions. So accurate and familiar.
Very much enjoyed the humour throughout.
Alice’s life has never run smoothly and she has to make life changing decisions after one episode where Ken becomes extremely violent.
Alice finds herself in France and appears to find it less stressful, more relaxing and in the company of Matt and his partner. She does not want to go back to the UK.
On finishing this book, I read “The Other Son, Christmas Bonus”. It would have been nice if the author had included the sequel as an extension of the original book.
I think the strongest element of the book is the way in which it is effectively told from the perspectives of the different characters involved and the author plays carefully on the way in which we all perceive each other, and each other's actions, differently.
I thought the narrative style was generally light and humorous at times, which kept me returning to the book although I did feel there were certain points in which the story lulled slightly, particularly the early stages of the book. However, as the story progresses, the author injects regular moments of darkness, particularly detailing Ken's abuse, a concept which he cleverly unravels throughout the story, as well gradually unveiling its effect on each of the story's characters. I liked the way in which he doesn't over dramatize these instances, but portrays them in a somewhat matter of fact way which I felt made the their impact on the story greater.
Alexander is clearly adept at examining human relationships and he depicts very well the uneasiness of familial relationships and in particular how they should be simple but in reality are very complex. I did find the ending somewhat cliched and I did feel that perhaps the only thing missing was a chapter from Ken's perspective to perhaps give an insight into why he behaves so poorly towards his family.
Nevertheless, overall enjoyed this book and would certainly be open to reading author works by Alexander.