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45 Reviews
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 (8)
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A meditation on the multiverse
A middle aged woman - a scientist in fact - suddenly finds herself in an alternative version of the world she lives in, one in which her eldest son did not in fact tragically die...

This is a thought-provoking novel, that could be classified as science fiction or even horror, but explores the relationship between parents and children as profoundly as any...
Published 21 months ago by J. H. Bretts

versus
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK
The idea is striking. But it's just like 'Lost' crossed with 'Donnie Darko'. They are engaging and puzzling and wildly entertaining at first, then they kind of go rogue, and no one can tie up the loose ends. Neither could Lennon with this book. The writing is very good, the characters are good. What's it all about? Is the main character, Elisa, in a parallel universe, is...
Published 7 months ago by J. Reynolds


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2.0 out of 5 stars FAMILIAR, 17 July 2014
By 
A. Lucas "bookworm" (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Familiar (Paperback)
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I really can't give this book more than two stars. The blurb made it sound like a book I wouldn't be able to put down, and I was really excited to start reading it. The first few chapters had me hooked, but then I'm afraid it just petered out. I was confused and disappointed by the end. Maybe it was my own fault for expecting too much, but I did feel let down after what could have been an amazing book turned out to be less than average.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not familiar at all - but an intriguing work, 16 July 2014
By 
G. J. Oxley "Gaz" (Tyne & Wear, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Familiar (Paperback)
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After visiting her son's grave, a lady scientist drives home and also somehow drives herself into some sort of alternative reality where things are the same - but not quite...

If this beguiling premise seems right up your street, then this well written novel that straddles the SF and metaphysical thriller boundaries could just be your thing.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars poorly crafted, 26 Sep 2013
By 
Queen Bee (south of England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Familiar (Kindle Edition)
Did no-one ever tell the author not to introduce characters with a full personal history attached.It's as if he has written up his notes.

I am getting tired of reviews in respectable broadsheets pumping up poor writing. I came to this book from a Guardian review I thought I could trust.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Existential Mystery..., 6 Jun 2014
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Me read (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Familiar (Paperback)
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I'm told this is an existential mystery but I think a better word for it would just be 'Weird'. It's not like anything I've read before and in some ways that's a good thing, I suppose, but it was just a bit too different for my tastes and I struggled with it.

It sounded so good in the blurb and the first few chapters weren't too bad but it lost me pretty early on. I just couldn't make sense of any of it. I get that that's the point of it all but it was just too much for me. It's also written in Third Person Present Tense which I really don't like. I find it really hard to connect to the characters when this writing style is used. Just personal preference.

It's well written and will no doubt have fans but I'm afraid it wasn't something I enjoyed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Familiar? No, different., 14 May 2014
By 
Mr. K. Cross "keithcelt2" (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Familiar (Paperback)
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I've dithered over whether to give this three or four stars, but in the end, because it is so well written, I decided on four. It starts excellently, sags a bit in the middle & somewhat disappoints at the end. What is real, what isn't? Everything changes the day she's driving back from visiting her son's grave. It's a long, featureless road & her concentration wanders, focusing on the crack on her windscreen. When she regains her focus, everything is different............ Is she experiencing some sort of psychotic breakdown, has she entered a parallel universe....? It's difficult to establish whether you're reading a science fiction novel, or a psychological chiller, & it's not helped by the lose ends that are tantalisingly & frustratingly left. I did enjoy it, but it also left me with a feeling of frustration. I wasn't sure if I'd just not grasped it, had missed something, or if it was the story that hadn't rounded things off. I think it's the latter. Still, an intriguing, unusual, sometimes thought-provoking book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting idea but soon becomes tedious, 15 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Familiar (Kindle Edition)
The idea everything you know suddenly shifting one mundane day is certainly an interesting concept for a novel but after a good start I lost interest fairly quickly as it turned into a tedious story about her marriage and relationships with her children. Well written so worth 3 stars but could have been much better.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gives you lots to think about, 3 Jan 2014
By 
Bakey (Suffolk, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Familiar (Kindle Edition)
Elisa is driving home after visiting her son's grave, she focuses on a small crack in the windscreen when suddenly the crack is no longer there. Then she realises her car is quieter, in fact it's not the same car and she is wearing different clothes. She soon finds out that her job is different as are her friends and some people she knew before she hasn't haven't even met yet. She's still married to Derek and they had two sons as in her previous existence in this life her oldest, Silas, is alive and wasn't killed in an accident. Derek tells her that she seems different but he can't quite work out how she has changed. She becomes convinced that she has slipped into a parallel universe.

We are never sure if she is living an alternate life or is suffering from some kind of breakdown. Although this may annoy some in the end for me it wasn't really important. This novel is a story about marriage, parenthood and a dysfunctional family.

Probably not for readers who like everything sown up and explained at the end but this didn't bother me. I finished Familiar yesterday afternoon and I'm still thinking about it and Elisa this morning, this one is going to need a bit more time for me to digest it before moving onto the next, it gives you plenty to think about.
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3.0 out of 5 stars High concept novel, 31 Dec 2013
This review is from: Familiar (Paperback)
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This is a novel that ponders some big issues - like the very idea of identity. It's sharply written and carries you along quite lightly, despite the heavyweight theme, until a rather loose and floppy ending. It almost felt like the narrative thrust of the novel was in the posing of big questions, and neat answers could not be found. So it felt to me that it lost its way towards the end. Nonetheless an enjoyable and fairly easy read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Reality that isn't, 21 Dec 2013
By 
R. Lawson "clavedoc" (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Familiar (Paperback)
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This is an unusual book, well written and a little unsettling. A woman drives down a road, has a black out and comes too to discover that everything has changed but everything is the same. She seems to be herself and to be in her old life, and yet every single detail seems to have shifted. The novel goes with her as she tries to make sense of this strange displaced feeling. We like her are uncertain if this is a paranormal experience, something to be explained by scientific dysjunction of parallel universes, or psychological distress and false memories. There is a long sense of discovery and of impending doom. Along the way we see her own life from the outside so there is a sense of questioning what represents the true self, and of what in life is important, with family and relationships taking centre stage.
Certainly this is an interesting novel told with crisp, vivid prose, and it's one that I enjoyed. However, I having been engaged and kept interested by the underlying theme I felt sadly deflated by a conclusion that was seemed incomplete.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent literary sci-fi that transcends genre boundaries, 6 Dec 2013
By 
Andrew Sutherland "Sutho" (Surrey outposts) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Familiar (Paperback)
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I'm not usually much for sci-fi but this is something different: I was perfectly happy to suspend disbelief throughout this slim literary novel that reads like a Hitchcock film. Protagonist Elisa s - a scientist - is driving back from the grave of her dead son Silas,10 years on from his death in a car crash, when she seemingly slips into another world - she's still driving, but sudden;y the car's changed (from a Honda to a Dodge) and she's changed (overweight now, wearing clothes she didn't put on that morning). Seemingly zapped into a parallel universe, she must navigate her way through this alternate existence to find out who she is; and what responsibility she must assume for the state of her family and her future. In this new reality Silas is alive but her marriage and family life is now dogged by fractures and estrangement: as the novel traces her coming to terms with the new parallel worlds, Lennon serves up a surprisingly moving and thought-provoking meditation on family and identity likely that goes way beyond any genre confines. Recommended to anyone with a heart and an enquiring mind.
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Familiar by J Robert Lennon
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