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on 18 March 2015
'The Ninth Life of Louis Drax' is the story of nine year old Louis Drax, a boy who is accident prone and believes he is living his ninth life after losing the previous eight (due to his accidents). Louis is very intelligent, precocious and deceitful (for reasons you will find out).

Following a tragic accident when Louis falls into a ravine, at the time he and his parents were enjoying a picnic when the accident occurred, now his father is missing, his mother is in shock and Louis is in a coma.
Louis is admitted to a clinic in Provence under the care of Dr Pascal, as time passes, Dr Pascal finds himself falling for Louis's mother and experiencing other strange occurrences, is Louis reaching out to Dr Pascal? Will Louis get to tell his side of his story?

'The Ninth Life of Louis Drax' is a interesting story about a extraordinary boy who is somewhat misunderstood and mature for his age. I found the story insightful about the power of mind and human nature which I enjoyed.

I liked Louis, he was a interesting character, I enjoyed reading his thoughts.

A great read.
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on 27 April 2017
Amazing twists and turns and you had no idea about how it might all end. I enjoyed it very much indeed.
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on 6 June 2017
Promised a bit more than it delivered but still an interesting tale
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on 25 March 2015
Everything that I have read so far by Liz Jensen is compelling. Start with My Dirty Little Book Of Stolen Time and you'll be hooked. Another classic here.
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on 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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on 18 January 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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on 17 December 2012
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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on 23 November 2011
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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on 24 June 2004
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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on 28 December 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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