A very satisfying read that I was reluctant to put down from the first page, this story follows a disenchanted young woman's redemption from her life of quiet desperation via a series of surprising events and sources, which I won't list here for fear of spoiling the plot. Sufficient to say her journey leads to a fulfilling ending that may even have you yearning to run a marathon by the end of it, as the heroine does - or to reach for whatever personal challenge will make you feel more alive.
I knew before reading this book that the author is a Buddhist priest and psychotherapist, and as in another book I've read by her ("Thaw"), Robyn's calm wisdom gained from both of these attributes shines through the telling of this story of ordinary, everyday people seeking to find a sense of belonging, love and meaning in the modern world.
I love the cover design, by the way, which will gain extra meaning once you've finished reading the book.
Highly recommended. I'll be working my way through the rest of her books now!
I loved April and her friend Art, they made me cry many times and laugh too. This is an inspirational story and in common with Satya Robyn's previous books, the characters feel so real, you are with April every step of the way through her marathon, feeling her pain, her crises of confidence and her courage. You will miss April and Art when the story ends. Satya Robyn has a talent for revealing the extraordinariness of ordinary people. Delving into the lives of her characters feels like therapy at times,hearing their inner thoughts, knowing the aspects of themselves that most of us work tirelessly to hide from the world, as you grow to love them, warts and all, you begin to feel that maybe we are all more lovable than we know.
The gift that Satya Robyn brings to the reader is the deceptive simplicity of her writing - a direct, light touch that makes the emotional impact of her books all the more profound - and the authenticity of her voice, whether it's that of a teenage boy, a lonely widower, or a young woman. April's story is so seamlessly written and has a voice so natural and real that it's made easy for us to accompany her on her journey, sharing her tears and smiles, her desperation and hope. And in all this there is never a false note or a lapse into sentimentality, just truly compassionate writing. I always come away from Robyn's books feeling not just that I've enjoyed a really good read but that on the way, and almost without realizing, I've learned something new about myself and others, about love and life. A thought provoking and inspiring read.
April isn't really living, she's just existing until a fatal accident turns her life upside down. As she recovers and gets to know the eccentric ex drag queen Art, April discovers who she is and begins to live her life on her own terms, instead of sitting back letting life happen to her. This is a heart warming story of courage, friendship and the strength of the human spirit. As in all Robyn's books, the personalities of her characters are so richly drawn that you fully expect to bump into them walking down the street and they live on long after you've reached the final page. Robyn is an exquisite observer who notices the subtle nuances of everyday life and the human doubts and insecurities we all experience, making Afterwards a book that leaves you feeling deeply satisfied and more observant of the details in your own life.
This book plunges the reader right in at the deep end from page one, sinks its teeth in and doesn't let go until you've finished it! It is a powerful story of how good, positive transformations can happen as a result of severe trauma. April's life gradually turns from grey to brightly coloured aided and abetted by the absolutely wonderful character that is Art. Everyone should have an Art in their life. Candid, wistful and wise with a liberal splash of rebellion - I loved him.
The book is sprinkled with subtle nuances and deep insights that can be applied to many of our own lives if we took the time to mull them over. The skillful way Satya Robyn has woven these into the story makes the reading effortless. It can simply be enjoyed as a story of triumph over adversity if that is all you want from it but there is so much more depth there if you care to look.
Occasionally you come across a book that makes you feel as if you'll discover something new if you were to read it a second or third time. This is one of those.
I am a fan of Satya Robyn, and I know that when I read her books they will be somehow comforting and challenging at the same time - this is no exception! The story of April running the London Marathon to make sense of her own personal 'afterwards' is a beautiful tale. April is an ordinary girl, forced into an extraordinary situation, and this novel shared her journey from despair to.....well, I'm not quite sure, not despair, but not joy, because, it's very realistic - you don't always get to be joyful, even when you do all you can!
It's a beautiful book, not long, you can read it quickly, then go back to it and savour every page :)
I loved Afterwards, and really missed Art and April when i reached the end. Indeed I found myself slowing down in order to make the book last longer. Satya as with all her novels has an amazing ability to capture real thoughts and emotions in the lives of her characters. As a psychotherapist I would love to prescribe her books for all students and clients as there is so much insight, depth and understanding of the painful issues faced in life alongside the deep joy of having relationships and being understood. This book will change you, and challenge whilst making you cry and laugh.
I hadn't read anything from Satya Robyn before but will be doing so in the future. This book had me hooked from page one with a great storyline that felt very real and very believable characters. This book showed how good can come out of bad, how positivity can overcome almost anything and how big age gaps between friends means nothing. I loved how this story was set out as each chapter indicated a mile that April was running in the London marathon and would start off with how she was feeling which going from couch to 10k myself felt this was bang on to what I felt! The story ultimately is uplifting and shows how positivity can change you from being stuck in a rut thinking you've no other options to a tragic accident happening and making you realise that a lot can be done to change the way you are. I thoroughly enjoyed this read it made me laugh and the connection between April and her friend Art made me cry as well.
Afterwards, by Satya Robyn - I really loved this story of April, being catapulted into a fresh start. I think the whole novel is about fresh starts. Coming out of suffocation and half lives - in ways that hurt terribly - but send one on a totally new path.
I love the way Robyn repeats the first scene - it is somehow comforting and the familiarity, feels like we are part of the story because we know things....
The marathon run, threaded through the story keeps the momentum going and gives comparisons to the marathon of keeping going and making the best of what life brings us.
I also like the way Robyn writes the self chatter - the resentment, the anger - the totally normal way our minds fly and rage around..............the things we like to keep inside as we feel they are so bad and petty.
And again, as with all Robyn's characters......I would love to know what April does next :)
This is the first book by Satya Robyn that I've read and now I'm ordering all the others. Rarely do I find a book that I really can't put down; I finished it at 3am this morning. I felt I was April, I could feel the blisters, the joy and sadness that Art brought to her and the insight she gained through this snapshot of a part of her life - I want to read more about her life, see how she matures and how she copes with her disability, a subject not often tackled in fiction. The story is humbling, insightful, funny and very easy to read, just make sure you don't have anything important to do for several hours before you start it!