Thank you to Red Door Publishing who sent us a copy of Being Simon Haines.
Meet Simon Haines.
For a decade he’s been chasing his dream: partnership at the legendary, family-run law firm of Fiennes & Plunkett. The gruelling hours and manic intensity of his job have come close to breaking him, but he has made it through the years and is now within a whisker of his millions: in less than two weeks, he will know the outcome of the partnership vote. He decides to spend the wait in Cuba in an attempt to rediscover his youthful enthusiasm and curiosity, and to clear his mind before the arrival of the news that might change his life forever. But alone in Havana he becomes lost in nostalgia and begins to relive his past…
Set against the backdrop of an uncertain world, and charged with emotion, Being Simon Haines is a searching story about contemporary London and aspiration, values and love. Painting a picture of a generation of young professionals, it asks the most universal of questions: are we strong enough to know who we are?
In ‘Being Simon Haines’ Tom Vaughan MacAulay tackles a question that is universally understandable; how did I end up here? It is written cleverly using Simon’s internal monologue to unravel the story of his life and how he ended up where, and more importantly who, he is. I will admit that, although it is not really my sort of book and it is a little wordy for my taste, this is put together very well. I can recognise the workings of the human mind and the associations Simon makes between events, places, songs and people to trigger memories is entirely realistic and believable. At times the words tumble on to the page as thoughts in a tumultuous mind which is appropriate and a nice linguistic touch.
There is a sadness that permeates the book but it is mingled with an arrogance and self-importance which makes Simon a difficult character to like but that’s okay because liking him is neither necessary nor I suspect intended. He is believable which is essential in such a character driven book and has enough decent qualities to make the reader want to persevere, but only just. It is written in a way that gives the reader such a sense of Simon’s character that we often reach key conclusions before him. Some readers may see the epiphany that he is somewhat self-obsessed as obvious; others may see it as an important step in his emotional development. Perhaps it is both.
‘Being Simon Haines’ raises some interesting questions about the importance of being right, whether winning is everything and what it truly means to be strong or weak.
Coming up with a star rating for this book is tricky as it wasn’t really my thing but if you love a book that really gets into someone’s head and dwells on the intricacies and implications of life’s decisions you will love it and probably say easily five. My advice is to give it a go.
By J.A Warnock for Love Books Group Blog
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Merry Christmas from Kelly & The Team, thank you for all your support and love in 2017.