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Liz Jensen's taut psychological thriller is read by Andrew Sachs and Ben Tibber 'Remarkable suspense...mysterious and wrenching' - Anthony Minghella. I'm not most kids. I'm Louis Drax. Stuff happens to me that shouldn't happen, like going on a picnic where you drown...Nine-year-old Louis Drax is a problem child: bright, precocious, deceitful and disturbingly accident prone. When he falls off a cliff into a ravine, the accident seems almost predestined. The boy miraculously survives - but the family has been shattered. Louis' father has vanished, his mother is paralysed by shock, and Louis lies in a coma from which he may never emerge. In a clinic in Provence, Dr Pascal Dannachet tries to coax Louis back to consciousness. But the case defies medical logic, startling the doctor out of his safe preconceptions, and drawing him inexorably into the dark heart of Louis' buried world. Only Louis holds the key to the mystery surrounding his fall - and he can't communicate. Or can he? Read by Andrew Sachs (Manuel, "Fawlty Towers") and Ben Tibber (lead, "I Am David"), this is an intriguing, shocking, poignant and heartbreaking story about what the human heart can inflict and the mind endure.
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Liz Jensen is the acclaimed author of The Paper Eater, Egg Dancing, Ark Baby (shortlisted for The Guardian Fiction Prize) and most recently War Crimes for the Home. She lives in London.From Publishers Weekly:
Starred Review. Louis Drax isn't like other children. The morbidly imaginative and sharply intuitive boy from a provincial city in France has survived eight suspicious accidents, one for each year of his life. On his ninth birthday, Louis suffers a mysterious fall from a cliff and ends up in Dr. Pascal Dannachet's experimental coma clinic, where the truth of his most recent mishap will be revealed. So begins British novelist Jensen's fourth book (War Crimes for the Home, etc.), a fiercely intelligent psychological thriller told from the alternating perspectives of the comatose Louis and the professionally conflicted Dr. Dannachet. As the French police search for Pierre Drax, the prime suspect in his son's fall, Louis negotiates the unconscious world with Gustave, his grotesque, bandaged imaginary companion, and Dr. Dannachet reluctantly falls in love with Louis's mother, Natalie. Behind the many twists and turns that ensue is a multilayered, genuinely convincing emotional drama that adds substance to the suspense. Families are torn apart, scientists are confounded by the miraculous, and the human heart unleashes its many secrets. Jensen's gift for black humor and off-kilter narratives shines throughout this page-turner, and her understanding of fractured psyches and their ability to heal is remarkable. The idiosyncrasies of her peculiar characters only make them more engaging, and at the end of Jensen's gripping tale, the reader is left eager for more.
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