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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderfully Original And A Gripping Novel
Last year, I purchased a copy of "The Rapture" because I was quite intrigued by some of the comments on the back cover of the book. It turned out to be a gripping read . Indeed such was the excellent impression left on me by that novel that the other day, when I saw " The Ninth Life Of Louis Drax " being displayed among other books, in a shop window, I immediately picked...
Published on 18 Jan 2011 by Caneroad

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and unsettling
The premise of this book piqued my interest to say the least - a boy in a coma is a most unusual storyline and offered something abit different. I found neither of the main characters particularly likeable - Louis was prone to disturbing outbursts and bitter anger, while Dr Dannachet came across as weak and often foolish. As I think of it now, there were question marks...
Published on 18 July 2005 by iliveinmyimagination


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderfully Original And A Gripping Novel, 18 Jan 2011
Last year, I purchased a copy of "The Rapture" because I was quite intrigued by some of the comments on the back cover of the book. It turned out to be a gripping read . Indeed such was the excellent impression left on me by that novel that the other day, when I saw " The Ninth Life Of Louis Drax " being displayed among other books, in a shop window, I immediately picked it up when I saw that it was written by Liz Jensen , the author of the "Rapture".

This one is a wonderful little mystery, with an unusual plot, very skilfully and patiently constructed, with each short section adding on a little bit to the suspence and building up all the way to the final sections, all contributing to a most unexpected ending and a brilliantly realised climax.
Louis is a precocious nine-year old boy, who is accident-prone. While picnicking with his parents, he suffers a near-fatal accident by falling off a cliff into a ravine and goes into a deep coma. Taken to a special clinic in Provence, France, he is looked after by Dr Dannachet, who tries to bring Louis back to health, but the challenges , including those intrinsic to the patient's own dream-like state, and those emanating from others in the external environment , are daunting , and there is absolutely no time to spare.
The first fifty pages or so of the narration could prove to be abit of a struggle for some "impatient" readers, like myself , but one should persevere with the unfolding story as the pace soon picks up and the book truly becomes difficult to put down after a little while.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life on the Edge, 17 Dec 2012
This review is from: The Ninth Life of Louis Drax: reissued (Kindle Edition)
This is a very original and gripping psychological thriller about a nine-year-old boy in a coma, his family and the doctor who tries to bring Louis back into a normal state of consciousness.

This book covers a multitude of themes, from the nature of parental love and a child's bonds and relationships with his parents, states of consciousness, the capacity of the human brain and the human heart, the soul, free will and determinism and more. All of this is against a context of very well-drawn characters and a wonderfully authentic atmosphere of a time of heat and forest fires in France.

The way that the author uses - rather than " to designate speech (and other forms of communication) needs getting used to, but it is clear that there is a good reason for this device.

The sections written in Louis' voice are exceptional - the child is angel and devil in one, but human above all.

I will be looking out for other books by this author.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb literary thriller, 13 April 2005
This is one of the best literary thrillers I have read. Sparse and atmospheric, Liz Jensen has the nerve to hold suspense longer than most authors, yet at the same time evoke the very real confusion of the human heart. Her concept is one that immediately appeals. A precocious young boy is in a coma after a family cliff top accident. His mother finds the one doctor in France who might have the expertise to cure him, but with the cure will come stories perhaps better left secret.
In the hands of film director Anthony Minghella I expect Louis Drax will become a thought-provoking movie.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Literary Thriller, 24 Jun 2004
By A Customer
A heart-stopping thriller hallmarked by Jensen's powerful and unique style. A friend recommended 'Ark Baby' - a comic tour de force - and I've been a fan of her work ever since. Jensen's versatility makes her a difficult writer to categorise, and I was curious to see how she would approach the thriller genre. This is yet another brilliant book; subtle, ingenious and beautifully written. The narrative fizzes and crackles with the customary energy of Jensen's prose. The story of accident-prone Louis Drax, and Dannachet, the doctor who looks after him, had me in its grip from the first paragraph to the last with many unexpected detours, blind alleys, and twists. It's difficult to reveal much about the book without unravelling a sophisticated and complex plot, so I won't, but this is the most tense and exciting thriller I've read in a long, long, time. What makes this book stand out is the sheer quality of the writing, the powerful, sinister atmosphere, and the fascinating characters. Jensen has a gift for voice and the dual narrative of Drax and Dannachet exploits this to full effect. Her descriptions of the Provencale landscape and the oppressive and turbulent weather reflect the inner turmoil of the characters' lives. It's an unforgettable story with writing of the highest order. And for those who claim 'literary thriller' is a contradiction in terms, here's my advice: READ THIS!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent page turner, 23 Nov 2011
This review is from: The Ninth Life of Louis Drax: reissued (Kindle Edition)
I read "The Rapture" by Liz Jensen a while ago and while I wasn't blown away by it, I liked the style enough to try an earlier book and got this on my Kindle. I read it in a couple of days, it's a real page turner (or clicker). Told from a variety of viewpoints (I loved Louis), it's a psychological thriller about the eponymous and strange Louis Drax, his mother and Dr Dannachet who is trying to help Louis but whose life is completely turned upside down by the Drax family. The storyline is impossible to predict and while it all wraps up at the end, I wished it had gone on a bit longer! Sorry for being a bit vague but I don't want to give anything away.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and unsettling, 18 July 2005
The premise of this book piqued my interest to say the least - a boy in a coma is a most unusual storyline and offered something abit different. I found neither of the main characters particularly likeable - Louis was prone to disturbing outbursts and bitter anger, while Dr Dannachet came across as weak and often foolish. As I think of it now, there were question marks over most of the characters in some way. This was the beauty of the book, there were niggling doubts about the characters and the secret that underpined them all always seemed just a page away.
I found Louis and his imagination unsettling, but the actual story was gripping and revealed the many folded weaknesses of humanty. Although others have commented that the style of writing supposedly reflecting a nine year old wasn't quite right, I disagree. Louis was no normal child - he is often described as brilliant as well as disturbed and this provides the justification for the writing style. It reflected the personality of Louis well - often suddenly turning the banal into the unsettling.
Ultimately, it was a tragedy and I still find myself plagued by thoughts of that unusual little boy.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Horror Story, 7 Sep 2005
By 
I was gripped by this novel, and found it very difficult to put down. An interesting premise; Louis, a precocious nine year old, is entrusted to the care of Dr. Dannachet when a horrific fall sends him into a coma. However, there's more to his story than meets the eye...
The novel is beautifully written, although flawed by the occasionally clunky phrase. And Dr. Dannachet's infactuation with Louis' young mother seems a little forced, sudden even. Small gripes, however; the story is a cracker, and masterfully told. There is a wonderfully spooky mood throughout, and a palpable sense of dread for the characters. Although the revelations at the end are quite obvious even before Dr. Dannachet begins his furtive investigations, the climax is still deliciously horrifying. As with The Virgin Suicides, my suspicions did not prepare me for the end of the story. Louis' dream state is wonderfully evoked, and sickeningly disturbing, and the book features one of the most memorable villains of 21st Century literature so far!
Highly recommended; it's not often I come across a read such as this.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, passionate and wonderfully heartbreaking storyline, 15 Jun 2010
I picked this up because of the cover and the blurb confirmed my attention was well founded. I could not put this book down and now can't wait to read something else by the same author. I loved Louis and found myself wanting to jump in the book and help him. The characters are well created, with enough detail for you to get a picture of the sort of person they are. I loved the way Dr Dannachet's infatuation just can't be explained in a clear, sensible way. He knows it, the author knows it, we know it. It's believable because it's one of those things you just CAN'T explain.
There's a brilliant twist/revelation at the end, and the story becomes clearer, leaving you wanting to kick yourself for not realising earlier. Louis is indeed a disturbed boy, but not by his own doing, and I think that makes it all the more sinister.
This book is thrilling to read, and I thoroughly enjoyed the interchanging narrator of Louis and Dr Dannachet.
Brill!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably the most twisted story I've encountered!, 28 Dec 2004
I was browsing in the bookshop and the title caught my attention. I had read reviews that compared it to "The curious incident of the dog in the night time," the best novel I've read recently, so I had to read this one. This book really is not what it seems. Despite its simplicity in style (especially when the author writes from the child's perspective) it really has a complex plot that keeps you guessing! As soon as you think you know what happened something else is uncovered that changes everything. The novel is mainly told through the eyes of the doctor looking after Louis, a "problem child" who always seems to have accidents, and as a reader you trust the doctor's suspicions and theories about what happened to Louis prior to him falling into a coma. However, you realise that Louis, while in a coma, is completely aware of what is happening, and talks to a mysterious grotesque figure called Gustave in his mind all which makes everything more weird. Louis' mother, Natalie, is alive and his father has apparently gone on the run after pushing Louis into the ravine. While looking after Louis, the doctor falls for Natalie, pushing his own marriage almost to breaking point, which the reader understands yet disgusts. The reader's perception of every character changes throughout the novel. It's only when you reach the very end that everything pieces together and makes sense! I only really got stuck in the book about 1/3 of the way through as nothing really made sense to me before that; there were so many characters and the parents' fighting along with Louis' talks with his psychiatrist "Fat Perez" were confusing (the author doesn't use quotation marks at all so sometimes I got abit lost with all the interuptions between thoughts and speech..)But when you start to understand what's going on (or you think you do) it's difficult to put it down! This is an excellent, suspense-filled novel. Not similar to Mark Haddon's Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night in terms of plot, but there is a resemblance in the children/boys in each: both are quirky weirdo outcasts with a need to know the truth, and the reader empathises with them.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't live up to the hype, 21 July 2006
By 
Babs (Kent, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
I am struggling a bit on how to write a review on this book, as it's not your normal run-of-the-mill novel.

Louis Drax is an accident-prone 8 year old who has some behavioural "issues". The book charts his life a couple of months up to his 9th birthday and gives background on his family, life, imaginary friends and why he is receiving therapy from his psychologist "Fat Perez" - who Louis seems to thrive on winding up!

On Louis' 9th birthday his mum and dad take him on a picnic where a family tragedy unfolds leaving Louis in a coma and his father missing.

The book unfolds to reveal the truth about his family, the truth about his own life and charts his time spent in the coma after the accident.

This is a confusing book to start reading, but once you figure out what's going on in Louis' head (or figure it out as best you can!) things start to slot into place a bit more and it ends up being a bit easier.

The main issue with this book is that there are very few "likeable" characters. Coupled with the fact you're never sure what's "real" and what's in Louis' imagination I found it difficult to get into the book. The character of Louis' mother doesn't seem to actually live up to the actions she's meant to be carrying out and the seemingly siren-like attraction the men in her life experience when she's around. It just wasn't believable enough for me to think she could have this kind of effect on others. Louis is confusing and rambling, and "Fat Perez" seems to be very one-dimensional and not really introduced sufficiently to feel he is a critical part of the story. Louis' doctor, Dr Dannachet, seems to be better written, but again his actions just didn't seem to tie up with the character and again, he seemed to be critically flawed.

Overall this book was "okay". I certainly don't think it lived up to the hype, and I struggled a bit to get into it properly or finish it. I'm glad I've read it, but I don't think I'll be seeking out any more books by Liz Jensen.
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