Friday, 20 June 2014

A Song For Issy Bradley by Carys Bray

I've been excited about the release of A Song for Issy Bradley for a long time. To be honest, I've been looking forward to reading more from Carys after devouring her short story collection Sweet Home a couple of years ago. She's is a fantastic writer - and a bloody lovely person - and I'm so chuffed that her novel is being recognised in the press and on the radio for the fabulous book it is. It was published yesterday.

I read A Song For Issy Bradley on a train, which may have been a mistake because I cried quite a bit. However, this book is not just a little bit heart-breaking, it's also beautifully written, and sweet, and funny. It's the story of the Bradley family and how they cope when their youngest, Issy, dies of meningitis. She was only four:

It is the story of Ian Bradley—husband, father, math teacher, and Mormon bishop—and his unshakeable belief that everything will turn out all right if he can only endure to the end, like the pioneers did. It is the story of his wife, Claire, her lonely wait for a sign from God, and her desperate need for life to pause while she comes to terms with tragedy.

And it is the story of their children: sixteen-year-old Zippy, experiencing the throes of first love; cynical fourteen-year-old Al, who would rather play soccer than read the Book of Mormon; and seven-year-old Jacob, whose faith is bigger than a mustard seed—probably bigger than a toffee candy, he thinks—and which he’s planning to use to mend his broken family with a miracle.

This may sound like it's a book about religion, but it's not, and it may sound like it's a book about death, and it isn't really that either. Carys has written a beautiful novel about family, love, loss, hope, growing-up... it's all manner of things and it's a wonderful, wonderful read. I urge to go out and find a copy; it's one of the best books I've read this year. Just one word of advice: don't read it on a train. Read it tucked up somewhere cosy, and let it carry you away. 

You can find Carys on Twitter, Facebook and over at her blog, too.

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