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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping psychological novel of obsession
From the very first page, I was completely engrossed in this psychological novel of obsession - and totally fascinated by its rather unhinged narrator Annie.

It's dark and suspenseful yet contains flashes of great humour, and it's very well-written. Despite the story sometimes stretching things a little too far, I only occasionally found aspects of the...
Published on 20 Aug. 2010 by Amazon Customer

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not very funny; rather tedious
I had looked forward to reading this much-hyped debut novel. The 'plot' sounded promising - a young overweight woman fantasizing about relationships that in the 'real world' just did not exist. It was also billed as humorous , intense and intriguing. Clearly from the reviews most readers have found it just so, which leaves me in a disappointed minority.

The...
Published on 17 Aug. 2011 by Harehound


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping psychological novel of obsession, 20 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Kind of Intimacy, A (Paperback)
From the very first page, I was completely engrossed in this psychological novel of obsession - and totally fascinated by its rather unhinged narrator Annie.

It's dark and suspenseful yet contains flashes of great humour, and it's very well-written. Despite the story sometimes stretching things a little too far, I only occasionally found aspects of the characters a bit unconvincing, and overall I was able to suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride.

It somehow manages to show Annie as monstrous, dangerous and obsessive, yet at the same time she gains our sympathy as she reveals details of her past and her many vulnerabilities. As the story develops and reaches its climax so do her feelings of being misunderstood, and her ability to justify her own hideous actions. It's a terrific story - and since it was author Jenn Ashworth's debut novel, I can't wait to see what she produces next!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping., 15 May 2009
By 
L. Mathias (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kind of Intimacy, A (Paperback)
This is the story of Annie, overweight, damaged and with a past we learn about in fragments. We see everything through Annie's eyes. She plays with our emotions, arousing both sympathy and repulsion. She has flashes of excrutiatingly acute observations but also a distorted reality which forces us to follow her, even though we may not want to.
A stunningly accomplished debut novel.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Debut!, 12 Mar. 2009
By 
Bakey (Suffolk, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kind of Intimacy, A (Paperback)
This book starts with the main character Annie moving into her new house and she soon becomes obsessed with her neighbour.
I felt sorry for her at first but as her past is gradually revealed throughout the book I found her more and more disturbing.
A Kind Of Intimacy is difficult to put down and keeps the reader in suspense to the end.
I thoroughly enjoyed Jenn Ashworth's debut novel and if her other books turn out to be half as good as this one then we're in for a treat. Definitely an author to look out for in the future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I was fat and he had acne on his shoulders..., 7 Jan. 2012
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Kind of Intimacy (Paperback)
"Evokes a damaged mind with the empathy and confidence of Ruth Rendell," says the quote on the front cover, thereby revealing, if not the whole plot, the main feature. How much better it would have been to be slowly made aware, by using one's own faculties, that the central character of this novel is one of the most unreliable characters you are ever likely to meet in the pages of a book. I wish publishers would be more aware that giving the game away is highly counter-productive in this genre.

Not that this is solely a mystery or crime novel. In fact, it cleverly subverts the genre, as we read of Annie's move into a new house in a new neighbourhood. She's a lonely woman, obese and rather pathetic, but though Neil, next door, does his best to be kind, Lucy, his girlfriend never takes to her new neighbour at all, but slowly the past is catching up with Annie, and not before time. Jenn Ashworth has written an unusually creepy and well-plotted crime book. I sat up with this until I got to the end, feeling, at times, as if I was holding my breath.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Kind of Fabulous, 5 Mar. 2009
By 
Colin J. Herd "colin j herd" (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kind of Intimacy, A (Paperback)
Jenn Ashworth's debut had me hooked from the first page. In Annie, Ashworth has created one of the most interesting, mysterious, endearing but at the same time terrifying characters I have ever had the uncomfortable pleasure of encountering in a book.

There are times when I felt that I simply wanted to hug Annie and make it alright. Tell her that everything's o.k. and that she IS beautiful. I balk when I read that sentence back, too, but that is what Annie does to me... I had that feeling a lot reading this novel, and each time i had it it made me feel uncomfortable, sensing that Annie was more than she seemed, feeling inadequate and arrogant: my hug wouldn't be enough, and would i be able to give it, and would i be able to cope with the consequences.

Ashworth really keeps her cards close to her chest, maintaining mystery and surprise throughout, revealing pieces and dropping hints of the fullness of Annie's past, the horror of her present, past and future.

This book is a love story of sorts, a crime novel of sorts, but most of all it is a tender and compassionate portrait of a lonely young woman, emotionally battered and psychologically disturbed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy, unsettling and totally unputdownable!, 4 Nov. 2011
By 
Murf61 (Newry, N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Kind of Intimacy (Paperback)
This book kept me up till the wee small hours as I just couldn't put it down until I had finished it! Jenn Ashworth lulls you into a false sense of security at the beginning, introducing us to Annie who has just moved into a new house and is getting to know her neighbours. Gradually you begin to realise that things aren't quite right but you can't put your finger on exactly why this is. At first you feel some sympathy or pity for Annie; she has obviously been through some kind of traumatic event, but as the book progresses and her behaviour becomes more erratic and unhinged, a sense of foreboding creeps in. What is Annie up to? What is she going to do? What exactly happened to her? The conclusion answers all these questions but nothing can prepare you for the final denouement which is shocking but very well written.

I thoroughly enjoyed A Kind of Intimacy and found myself totally engrossed in Annie's world, constantly trying to second guess her rationale (but getting it completely wrong). It is a very disturbing book in some ways... do we REALLY know the people who live around us? The twist, when it comes, makes all that has come before fall into place but will have you gasping in shock nonetheless. A highly recommended read, especially if you enjoy unreliable narrators (which Annie most certainly is).
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock in Lancashire, 26 Aug. 2009
By 
Edward Wilson (Chediston, Suffolk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kind of Intimacy, A (Paperback)
Jenn Ashworth succeeds in doing what most authors only dream about. She has written a literary novel that also has wide popular appeal. A Kind of Intimacy is a quality read. Ashworth's prose never misses a beat or strikes a false note and her plot leaves the reader breathless. Few writers are brave enough to go into a place as dark and dangerous as the mind of Annie, the first person narrator of A Kind of Intimacy. Annie is one of the most convincing portraits of psycho-pathology in recent fiction. She compares favourably to Frederick Clegg in Fowles's The Collector - and the calm logic of her self-justification is even more chilling. Final advice, brace yourself for the ending. The gripping conclusion of this Hitchcockian novel - tantalisingly drawn out over the final 60 pages - is one of the great white knuckle rides of recent literature.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unsettling and menacing, 14 July 2011
By 
Jood (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Kind of Intimacy (Paperback)
An ordinary street inhabited by ordinary people, one of whom has a dark past she is trying to keep hidden. Meet morbidly obese Annie, who has just moved into the street, as she makes bizarre attempts to fit into the neighbourhood; her house-warming party is a total disaster, but Annie doesn't see it quite that way. As her mind gradually spirals out of control, she latches on to Neil, her next-door neighbour, who, unfortunately for Annie has a live-in girlfriend. This does not deter Annie in the least as she attempts to gain control and win him for herself, with guidance from her never-ending supply of self-help books. It all ends in tears of course.

At times comically dark, but always menacing, it gathers pace nicely and kept me turning the pages even though I didn't like any of the characters. I read this book after I'd read Jenn Ashworth's second book "Cold Light", which I enjoyed even more. So, if you enjoyed this one, do give "Cold Light" a go.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark tale of love and obsession, 22 April 2011
By 
Brida "izumi" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Kind of Intimacy (Paperback)
A KIND OF INTIMACY is an increasingly dark, disturbing book about a young woman, Annie. At the beginning of the book, Annie is moving house following the break-up of her marriage. The story starts by Annie becoming increasingly interested in her next door neighbour, Neil. As the narration progresses, Annie revisits her past - describing to the reader how she met her husband, and why the marriage finally ended - while in the present, she becomes more and more convinced that Neil is in love with her.

That is basically the main part of the plot; I don't want to give more away, as I would not want to spoil it for those who would also like to read it. What I loved about this book was the writing and the attention to detail. Having Annie as the narrator, we get a good 'look' into her head; how she thinks, feels and justifies her actions. This is, at times, darkly funny, disturbing or even familiar to us in some ways. Although Annie is an extreme character, as the blurb on the back of the cover says, she is a "clumsy young woman who has too much in common with the rest of us to be written off as a monster." This is definitely appropriate at the beginning of the book, when we are not able to see just how disturbed Annie actually is.

I would certainly recommend this book. It will posiibly shock you, make you laugh, make you think about her long after closing the pages, but ultimately it is an entertaining piece of fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gently unravelling creepiness..., 15 May 2011
This review is from: A Kind of Intimacy (Paperback)
This is a book about loneliness, isolation, delusion, yearning for acceptance and how close we all come to some degree of madness... whether we can admit it to ourselves or not. So, not the cheeriest of reads, but as compelling as picking at a spot: you know it's only going to make the spot worse, but somehow you can't stop yourself.

It's an ugly and uncomfortable read, but there is a lot to smile about - the kind of smile where you find yourself half grimacing when you occasionally recognise characterisations of people you may have met or (and of course, we don't like to admit it) our own selves. Yes, there is a slow building sense of impending violence (and this aspect of the novel creeps in with the slow but inevitable burn of hot treacle), but there is also a large dollop of satire on what it means to be the "good" neighbour, the "suitable" wife, the "welcoming" neighbourhood.

There is definitely a little mystery here: the novel is told in split timelines, the current events and the protagonist's history. This works so very well because right until the closing chapters, you are scrambling to work out what has brought Annie, the narrator to this point - and indeed, what is real and what is purely in her mind?

I look forward to reading more from Jenn Ashworth in the future.
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A Kind of Intimacy
A Kind of Intimacy by Jenn Ashworth (Paperback - 26 Mar. 2009)
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