Length: 288 pages
Apologies for no link but there’s gremlins about on this post, booklinker will not allow me to create a universal link and WordPress will not allow me to link the various Amazon pages so my hands are beyond tied here! It is available on Amazon at the moment, but although an excellent book, I’d put it in the expensive category, so maybe one to put on the wish list.
What they say: Katharina’s husband isn’t coming home for the weekend—again—so she’s on her own. When their chaotic daughter Helli has a nosebleed, Kat has to dash off to school to pick her up.
Then their son, Alex, announces he’s bringing his new girlfriend home for the first time. Kat’s best friend from college is coming around tonight too, and she’s wondering if she should try to seduce him—but first she needs to do the shopping, the vacuuming and the laundry, deal with an exploding clothes-dryer, find their neighbour’s severed thumb in the front yard and catch a couple of escaped rodents.
When she’s got all that sorted, perhaps she’ll have time to think about the thing she’s been trying not to think about—the lump she’s just found in her breast. Because you can’t just die and leave a huge mess for someone else to clean up…can you? And wasn’t there supposed to be more to life than this?
Mareike Krügel lives in Schleswig-Holstein with her husband and their two children. She has received numerous literary awards, including the Friedrich Hebbel Prize. Look at Me is her fourth novel, and the first to be translated into English.
The Review: You know one of those books that you’re reading thinking ‘huh?!’ most of the time? Well this was definitely one I’d put in this category! As you can see above, it’s the story of Katharina, who we meet at the school collecting her daughter Helli, who is having he absolute mother of all nosebleeds. We learn that not only is this not an out of the ordinary occurrence, but Katharina believes it to be something that her daughter has control over, and uses to her advantage. But then there was always issues with Heilli and it only makes us fall for the pairing a little more
“Right from the beginning she looked so red and angry and screamed such a lot that I put up a kind of shield of maternal love … I love Heilli a little bit more than everyone else in our family does. It’s not that she’s easy to love-far from it- but I suppose I’ve just turned my love for her up a bit hotter and a bit fiercer to make up for it”
And so I was ready for anything, and boy was ‘anything’ thrown at me hard and fast. The book deals with Katharina’s thought process on dying as there’s a ‘something’ in her breast and I found her honesty and frankness both intriguing and endearing as well as devastating “what do you do when you have a something in your breast and your daughter might have to be taken out of school if her behaviour doesn’t change?”
My review will not in my mind do justice for a book that made me laugh(splutter with laughter in fact!), cry, swoon, gasp in shock and which, on the whole, devastated me.
The characters were excellent in their quirks and the descriptions of setting were mind blowing “They miss the hoarfrost and the powdered furrows, the frozen ditches and the low winter sun shining as if through milk glass.”
I read this last winter but thought the release date was a year away and so I had to put it aside (I was wrong), and am sure that this will still be one of the top books I read this year. Exceptional and totally my kind of book. Thanks to Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.