A Kind of Intimacy Paperback – 18 Jul 2013
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An intense and intriguing novel that never quite lets the reader get comfortable. It understands about the fuzzy boundary between the normal and the strange, and weaves them together in a gripping, ever-darkening narrative (Jenny Diski)
who wouldn't kill for a comic gift like Jenn Ashworth's? (Guardian)
a hugely readable debut novel...about the inability to know others and ourselves (Independent)
evokes a damaged mind with the empathy and confidence of Ruth Rendell (The Times)
extremely intense and powerfully intriguing (Waterstone's)
The prize-winning debut by Jenn Ashworth, which led her to be picked as one of the 12 Best New British Novelists by BBC TV's The Culture Show in 2011, a blackly funny and compelling tale of obsession, misplaced passion and one seriously mixed-up young woman - the kind of neighbour you would not wish on your worst enemy.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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!
The central character, Annie, is not supposed to be liked, and probably not empathized with, but I failed to connect with her at all except to feel slightly embarrassed to be trotting around behind her feeling what a stupid person she was. Indeed she was not the only character that I failed to engage with, her husband, childhood lover, and fantasy boyfriend lacked any credibility, even the cat was so loosely drawn that I had (and still have) no idea if the body that was buried was really Mr Tips.
The book nearly lost me as a reader in its first page (should have gone to Waterstones, then I would have read that and put the novel back on the shelf!). I can see no artistic, literary, or dramatic reason why the protagonist should remove all her clothes to kick a sofa. If you want to knock seven bells out of a sofa then it is considerably more effective, and less painful, to leave most of your clothes on. I suppose it provided an excuse for Annie to describe herself 'My thighs wobbled, dimpled with fat, and puckered with stretch marks, and I saw myself kick again hopping from one foot to the other, breasts bouncing, arms shaking, getting out of breath.' Is this the stuff of literary fiction these days?
This is the second novel promoted as a 'literary' book that I have found myself skipping over paragraphs in headlong pursuit of the final page (the other was The Finkler Question - so Jenn Ashworth is in fine company!). It was, sad to say, a tedious read and that which appears to pass for humour was such that I could only squirm at it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is laborious, predictable, and the story line is utterly transparent. Its hardly worth the effort of forcing yourself to plough through four fifths of painfully boring... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Neil W.
Jenn Ashworth has completely entered the mind of abused social outcast Annie and that makes her story unnerving and compelling. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Jonty
An offbeat book that is very funny. What I found scary is that Annie actually believes that she is normal, when in fact she lives in a world of self-deception and fantasy. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Mercedes Del Ray
I found this uncomfortable to read - and I dare say that says something about me - while at the same time moving with an inevitability about it. Not a favourite.Published 22 months ago by Mary Reid
One of the most enjoyable books I have ever read. You must read it!Published 23 months ago by Jenny
the story moves along in this tale of a disturbed woman doing disturbing things .. but much to worry about in terms of recycling negative stereotypesPublished on 2 May 2014 by M
I try to give every book I start a fair chance so always finish just to see, if by any chance, it will improve. Read morePublished on 25 April 2014 by hextol
Especially for a debut.
Many times as I read I was thinking How delusional the protagonist was rather angrily. Read more