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Friday, 11 March 2016

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

Look At Me

Sarah Duguid's debut novel is a compelling snapshot of a family under pressure.

It raises a number of interesting questions. What is the meaning of family? What is the meaning of home? What do you do when home doesn't feel like home any more and your family no longer seems like your family?

Lizzy lives with her father Julian and her brother Ig. The three of them are trying to come to terms with the death of her mother, Margaret. The house still feels full of her presence as they struggle to deal with her absence.

Into this mix comes Eunice. Eunice is Julian's daughter - born as a result of an extramarital affair. She has decided she wants to get to know her family and she isn't really taking anyone else’s feelings into consideration in the matter.

All the characters in this novel are really interesting. They are all flawed, but they all cry out for empathy in their different ways. Julian - unable to come to terms with the loss of his wife. Eunice - the cuckoo in the nest. Lizzy - resenting Eunice and the way she has imposed herself onto her family, and into her home.

It's a novel that appeals to all the senses. There is lots of luscious description of food and drink, not to mention the effects of smoking hash. I particularly loved the descriptions of the barbecue that Julian holds in the courtyard of the house for all his family and friends, where Eunice, dressed in silver, flits through the party, causing havoc in her wake.

‘Look At Me’ works really well as a study in human relationships; an examination of love, grief, jealousy and bereavement.

I loved its complexity and the beauty of the writing.

This is a great debut novel which leaves the reader with so much to think about.

Thanks very much to the publishers for a review copy of this book.

You can find out more here.

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