Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Sunday 26 January 2014

The Art of Leaving - Anna Stothard - Guest book review

Guest book review by Josie Barton

“It is impossible to understand a person fully until the moment you leave them”

The nightclubs and alleyways of London’s Soho district is the unlikely setting for this second novel of Anna Stothard. The protagonist is Eva Elliott, a young woman whose eagerness for the ending of a relationship rather than the beginning is the driving force behind the story. There is much to learn about Eva, not just the raison d'ĂȘtre behind her sense of abandonment, but also why she anticipates with an almost irrational glee the conclusion of any romantic entanglement.

The book gets off to something of a slow start, there is much to absorb, but gradually as the layers of the story are peeled away, and as Eva’s personality becomes more distinct, the story starts to become much more character driven, rather than entirely plot focused. There is no doubt that the author has a great gift for storytelling as there is much to enjoy in the world which she has so skilfully recreated. The writing is assured and confident and the ability to conjure the seedier aspects of London is thoroughly demonstrated, and moreover, the fine attention to detail really brings the city and its people to life.

In many respects, this is not an exciting novel; The Art of Leaving is much more of a gently simmering slow burner which offers a uniquely perceptive look, not just into Eva and her life, but also into the lives of those who come into contact with her. In my opinion, this novel is well worth reading, especially if you enjoy character focused novels with just a hint of mystery.

I would give the book 4 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Josie Barton

Many thanks to Josie for reading and guest reviewing this novel for The Little Reader Library.
Josie writes a wonderful book blog - and is on twitter


  1. Very interesting premise behind Eva's character. I think that it is realistic as I think that this is true of some people. Well written character studies can be such great reads.

  2. What an intriguing premise for a story. This book sounds like one I'd enjoy for sure. Thank you for the review.

  3. Liking the sound of this. I read and reviewed what I seem to remember was the authors debut novel, The Pink Hotel, and would love to see how her writing has developed.

  4. Hey i have nominated your blog for the Liebster award i hope you take part and help to spread the world about amazing smaller blogs!


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