The Thinking Tank Paperback – 1 Oct 2011
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About the Author
Half Dutch, and born between the in-and-out gates of a distillery on the borders of Wandsworth and Battersea, way before the area became chic, I loved the whole London culture vibe as I was growing up. I went to Grey Coat Hospital Girls' Grammar School in Victoria (a real privilege - I am grateful for the experience to this day), and then on to read BA Jt Hons Modern Languages at the University of Bristol. I loved my early career as a Modern Languages(French and German)teacher, working in both the state and private sector. Writing has been in my blood for as long as I can remember. Following on from freelance journalism, my work as Editor for Travelsphere holidays was fantastic - travel is a great passion and I am blessed to have done a lot of it, including a magical spell as an expat in the Middle East! I also enjoyed editing Embrace Magazine for a couple of years - an intensely busy time, bonkers but good. Life has not all been easy. When one of the closest people to me died I thought that the world would end, and it almost did. When I surfaced, I realised that it had simply changed forever, and decided to honour her memory with the passion I try to inject into everything I do. The Thinking Tank was inspired by a desire to turn life's crappy stuff into something meaningful and enriching...our past doesn't always have to dictate our future. Sleeping People Lie, my new title, (Summertime Publishing November 2012)is a love story with a dark edge set between Paris and New York. I am now living in Lincolnshire with my husband and two chihuahuas.
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When I started reading, I took an instant dislike to Sarah, the main character. Her introduction portrays a woman suffering from a degree of immobility and pain resulting from an old accident - petulant and irascible in turns, and clingy and manipulative with her long-suffering daughter, she is exactly the sort of character for which I have little time and much scorn. I wasn't sure that I would be able to stick with it.
The acuity of Jae's writing pulled me in, however. Her style is exceptionally clear, well-constructed and honest. And as I became more involved with the slowly-building picture of Sarah's past, and her arrival in the `now', my attitude changed, just as I feel it was meant to do.
As her journey of self-discovery continues, so does Sarah's analysis of her relationships with those around her. This analysis is insightful, clear and sometimes brutally honest, but beautifully written throughout. I particularly liked many of the short, sharp philosophies that were expressed, and found myself nodding in accord with many of them.
A fairly surprising journey by Sarah to Spain brought me to my home ground, and I read with delight the masterful descriptions of places and atmosphere that flowed from Jae's pen.
The finale was just as it should be, because I like to close a book feeling content with the outcome.
Impressed as I was, I have bought this book a number of times over to gift away. An exceptional first novel.
That night, I returned to the finca we were staying at with burnt lips and red, raw, sore skin. So gripped was I by this assured debut that I didn't reapply suncream as regularly as I should have, let alone utilize any lipbalm whatsoever. And so enchanting was the tale told that I didn't even notice until the screams of my wife greeted my return.
The titular tank is a hyperbaric oxygen chamber used by Sarah, the main character, to combat her Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. Author Jae De Wylde, though, uses said chamber as a time machine of a dramatic device. The narrative is able to skip across generations as easily as across longitudinal divisions.
A definite page turner, you'll find it hard not to finish The Thinking Tank in one sitting. Or in my case, one lying. Just don't forget the suncream.Going Local in Gran Canaria: How to Turn a Holiday Destination into a Home
A fabulous novel, leaving the reader keen to find out where the story is going.
I liked the device of the two parallel story lines that were then intertwined at the end. The two time frames and various settings were vividly evoked: I could almost taste the wine in the Spanish episodes.