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The Cushion Effect [Kindle Edition]

Sam Kirshaw
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When three women set out to discover what guilty secret lies behind their alpha male's descent into a mid-life crisis, they learn far more about each other's guilt and secrets. This contemporary tragicomedy of middle England underlines the perils of material well-being which offer comfort and solace to Catherine, his wife, Leanne, his admirer, and Naomi, his object of desire. But in their search for the motives behind his abnormal behaviour, does it smother and suppress their emotional life and their ability to act: in hope and despair, in fealty and infidelity, in love and in death? Through the disintegration of their relationships are they the cause, or is there something or someone beyond their world which acts as the catalyst?

From the Reviews:

"...it evolved and went on to exceed my expectations: friendships deepened, loyalties became more complex, intimacies were heartstopping. A brave and emotionally rewarding novel with wonderfully realistic characters whose journeys are about love, loyalties, intimacy and friendship. It's such an intelligently-written and deeply insightful story of relationsips, love and loss..."

"The story has a natural flow to it which makes it particularly difficult to put down. Elements of romance,comedy,suspense and realism combine to make this book an all round enjoyable read for all tastes."

"This story of women's lives and connections, reliance on each other and upon themselves, is funky and fun and often moving to read. The writing's full of bright, fine lines."

"By the time The Cushion Effect reveals all its inner secrets - including the relevance of the mysterious 'cushion' of the title - we as readers are fully invested in the stories of the three women protagonists. I can not recommend highly enough this unique book or this incredible author."

"I'm immensely impressed by the book and by the author's talent...Recommended for all lovers of a good tale, well told and anyone who relishes character development and sympathetic writing."

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm only a third into this fabulous book but am so blown away I can't wait to rave about it. Unless it changes markedly by the end (which it won't, I'm certain - this is such accomplished writing I can almost feel the writer's confident hand grasping mine as she guides me into the story) there is no question in my mind this is a stellar novel. I'm getting a sense of the spare and lovely writing of Anita Brookner (whose work I love), but somehow very cool and with humour weaving through brilliant, insightful characterisation and a marvellous sense of place. I would give this book ten stars if I could. It's outstanding.

Added 12 April 2012:
Ok, so I'm back after finishing the book, and actually, I was wrong about something. It did change towards the middle and markedly towards the end. I don't believe in spoiler alerts, so can't say much other than it evolved and went on to exceed my expectations: friendships deepened, loyalties became more complex, intimacies were heartstopping. A brave and emotionally rewarding novel with wonderfully realistic characters whose journeys are about love, loyalties, intimacy and friendship. It's such an intelligently-written and deeply insightful story of relationsips, love and loss, that I fear I don't quite have the words to get my admiration across. A glorious novel celebrating friendship and love and a % of proceeds to charity. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding writing and cleverly-woven plotting. 30 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Firstly, a disclaimer: this novel is widely perceived as 'womens' fiction' yet I am a mere male. With regard to genre, the idea of women writing for women is a broad church, ranging from what is often termed literary fiction to the much derided realms of 'chick lit'. This novel is far, far removed from the latter.
Is it 'just' for a female audience? It's written very much from a woman's perspective and the intensity of emotion is certainly present. The writer possesses a rare ability to expand characterisation in an almost languid fashion while retaining the reader's interest and there's many a phrase or expression that caused me to nod my head in approval.
The author's a talented writer with an impressive vocabulary and an ability to express insight and inner thoughts in written form.
I'm immensely impressed by the book and by the author's talent. It's always a pleasure to find a writer with a body of work behind them as we have opportunity to explore further, but it's equally exciting to find a writer with so much more to offer. With this book, I feel I'm on the first step and there's so much more to come. I was advised to read the book by a fellow writer I admire deeply and her judgement has been vindicated, absolutely. Sam Kirshaw is a name I expect to hear about more and more in the future. She understands the subtle nuances of characterisation so well and the cleverly interlinked nature of the plot allows full reign to the readers' exploration of these memorable characters.
A final word of praise: I know many of the locations used in the book at first hand and can vouch for the accuracy of the detail. One of the ways in which a novel transcends the norm is in the detail.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Near, far, wherever you are ... 4 Dec. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet were together for a few days on the doomed Titanic but their love lasted a lifetime. At the other end of the scale you have couples who stick together for decades despite repeated arguments. Most of us fall somewhere in between but all of us, male and female, crave the intensity of the first but instinctively opt for the security blanket of the second.
Sam Kirshaw's book follows the lives of three women and explores their relationships and how they stand the test of time, a test which evolves as their lives progress. It's an ever-changing picture. The goalposts are moved every morning and Sam skilfully navigates her characters through life's obstacles showing the sort of character development rarely seen beyond the classics.
Her style is smooth. The story flows easily. There are some little-used words but the ideas she uses are clever ... not the vocabulary. There's a huge difference. "It was as if Naomi had invented a new tense for their relationship, the discontinuous continuous." As another reviewer has said, the detail is on the money. I am from Cornwall and the book visits our brassy neighbour Devon. "South Devon is like Cornwall with a boob job." Fantastic.
I'm a sad old man. I cried at the end of Titanic. I also cried at the end of The Cushion Effect. It's a thought-provoking read. You're left asking yourself questions about your own life and what choices you have made. I gave my wife an extra cuddle before I went to bed after finishing Sam's excellent book. Would recommend to men and women of all ages. Looking forward to Sam's next offering.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cushion Effect 25 Nov. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Having just read "The Cushion Effect" in record time,i can only give it a resounding thumbs up!! The story has a natural flow to it which makes it particularly difficult to put down.Elements of romance,comedy,suspense and realism combine to make this book an all round enjoyable read for all tastes.
Very much looking forward to the next offering!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of suspense
Absolutely loved this delightful and thoughtful novel by Sam Kirshaw. Highly recommended. Intriging, thrilling & brillant. Characters will draw you in.
Published 17 months ago by Linda A. Penner
4.0 out of 5 stars Labels, then Life
This is not the kind of book I'd normally read. Too glossy, too many labels, too many bars, hotels, restaurants, too many high-powered jobs. Read more
Published 17 months ago by DJK
5.0 out of 5 stars true blue
This is not something I thought I would read. I am so happy to say I said I would and did!
Feel like I have been put through the ringer emotionally! Read more
Published 18 months ago by Joe R
5.0 out of 5 stars A Simply Stunning Manuscript - It's Allure is Magnetic!
It is not at all certain in my attempts to recall, when I read my last novel. A few things however are clear and unmistakable - it was eons ago AND "The Cushion Effect" will go... Read more
Published on 24 Feb. 2013 by Alan E. Freedman
5.0 out of 5 stars Layered and introspective.
This debut novel promises much in the career of a writer we should all begin to take notice of. On the face of it, the narrative is a simple tale of the traditional strains and... Read more
Published on 10 Feb. 2013 by Sofalife
4.0 out of 5 stars not sex in the city
As a male reader, this is a very good and interesting book. It made me want to continue chapter after chapter ( was i just being nosey , i dont know ) Strong characters and a good... Read more
Published on 21 Dec. 2012 by D. wise
1.0 out of 5 stars Unspeakably dreadful amateur writing
This book is embarrassingly awful- I can only think the good reviews were written by friends of the author. Read more
Published on 22 July 2012 by Cybele
4.0 out of 5 stars The Cushion Effect
Whilst this book started slowly with a woven plot of inter relationships between three women and their families, particularly their husbands, it clearly began to revolve around... Read more
Published on 9 July 2012 by Waddy
2.0 out of 5 stars The Cushion Effect
I am obviously not a discerning reader. I spent so much time looking words up in the dictionary that I lost the plot, then lost interest in reading any more. Not for me, sorry Sam
Published on 1 Jan. 2012 by rock chick
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