Book Review – The Nearest Far away Place by Hayley Long

I have been a member of Goodreads for some time now and think it is a fantastic site. However, I have not been the best at contributing to it in the past so, in my quest to become a better Goodreads user and also share some of my thoughts and recommendations about books and authors, I have decided to link my reviews to my blog. I hope you find some of them interesting – who knows, perhaps I will help you to discover a new favourite book in the process…

Faraway Place

I read the first three chapters of this when my daughter got it from her Toppings’ Book Club as she was just finishing another book, and then I had to wait a couple of weeks to finish it, which was a challenge, as I was immediately hooked.
The story centres around brothers Griff and Dylan, who are in a terrible car accident where both their parents are killed. Dylan is worried that his younger brother is not coping well and we get a great sense of both their characters and their feelings throughout the book. It is in turns heartbreaking and heartwarming as we follow them both from New York to Aberystwyth via various flashbacks to the nearest faraway place, where we also get a good sense of their parents and what family life was like before the accident.
The story is beautifully written and very visual and, having not read any of the author’s other books before, I know I will be buying them now for both me and my daughter to enjoy.

***** Five Stars

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‘Parting’ by Margie Brizzolari

It’s been a good day for entries into the September mini writing comp!
Hello and welcome to another new participant, Margie, with her beautiful poem.

Once again I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributes to these monthly competitions – I enjoy reading all the entries and discovering new blogs in return.

Margie Brizzolari says:

September 9, 2013 at 11:39 am

Thanks for these prompts. Here is my take on it.

Parting

older couple

Parting is not sweet sorrow
Tis the death of all tomorrows
Today you gaze at me and sigh
“My wife will soon be coming by”
I squeeze your hand
I understand
You’re leaving me
Moment by moment,
Day by day,
Inch by inch
And I never got to say goodbye.

(c) Margie Brizzolari

TIME

HOURGLASS

TIME

I am cold. I am cold even though it is bright outside. It looks warm. I have lost track of time. Is it Summer already? Inside days merge. Some are even lost completely. The irony is that just when time has suddenly become more precious I find it a fleeting entity, hard to keep hold of as it slips through my fingers like grains of sand. My hourglass is filling up exponentially but all I can do is sit and look; watch, wait and reflect.
Visitors start to arrive as I continue to gaze out of my window. Sure enough, there is Paul’s battered red Ford squeezing into a narrow parking space between a lurid green Mini and a gold Land Rover. He, Molly, and kids tumble out. For a second his guard is down and I notice how tired he seems. Then he looks up and catches me watching. His face lights up in an over bright smile that, even from this distance, I can tell doesn’t reach his eyes.
As I wait I adjust my scarf and ask for my pillows to be plumped up for more support. I want to be sitting up properly when I see them. I want to remember today for as long as I can and ensure a strong memory lingers. I want them to remember me and not my illness.
I have passed through a spectrum of emotions; disbelief, numbness, anger, guilt, fear and terrible crippling sadness. Why me? Why my family? I have already started grieving for what I am leaving behind.
But today is different. Today I am at peace and I am in charge for once, not this disease. Me! I know I will only have a small window of lucidity before I will have to self-administer more drugs, which are only ever a temporary relief from pain. But although it has won I won’t be beaten.
My family enter and Paul comes straight over to take my hand. He is gentle, like I am made of glass and could shatter into a thousand pieces at any second. His smile is sad and this time it does reach his eyes.
“It’s okay,” I say, “It will be okay.”
His Adam’s apple is bobbing up and down furiously and his top lip quivers slightly. “I don’t want you to go.” His voice catches and I can see him struggling for composure in front of his girls.
“I know,” I smile. “I feel it all; from what you want to say now but can’t, to what you may later wish you had said. Promise me you won’t ever look back in regret as I know your heart and love you for it. All of you.”
They stay for half an hour and I turn my head to watch as they slowly walk back towards their car. Paul stops, looks up, and places one hand across his heart. I close my eyes and press for more drugs.
It is time to say goodbye.