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If I Can't Have You de Charlotte Levin
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If I Can't Have You (edição: 2021)

de Charlotte Levin (Autor)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaConversas
203895,205 (4.13)Nenhum(a)
Membro:Jonnyslibrary
Título:If I Can't Have You
Autores:Charlotte Levin (Autor)
Informação:Pan (2021), 416 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:Fiction, A-Z Fiction

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If I Can't Have You de Charlotte Levin

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Exibindo 3 de 3
Constance Little works in a surgery where she develops a dangerous infatuation with one of the doctors. So much so that he inhabits her mind every waking minute and sometimes during her dreams. She ends up on an ever decreasing spiral into the darkness of stalking and voyeurism.

Wonderfully written and vividly told, this is just a fabulous story of loneliness, love and obsession. Constance is such a fascinating and worrying character. She is the first person narrator of the tale and takes the reader on quite a rollercoaster of a journey. You never know what she is going to do next! Some of it will have you cringing at her actions and at other times it will bring a tear to your eye. I was totally gripped. I read this via the Pigeonhole app and couldn’t wait to receive each stave to read on.

An excellent debut which I can highly recommend. I look forward to reading more of Charlotte Levin’s work. ( )
  VanessaCW | Dec 5, 2020 |
If I Can’t Have You is a book that’s hard to define. Is it a thriller? Yes, sometimes. Other times it’s more of a dark drama or a character-driven story. However you categorise it, it’s a very polished debut novel.

The story is told by Constance, a young woman who has moved to London after the death of her mother. Written in the retrospective first person, the novel is a letter to a person who meant a lot to Constance. Samuel is a new doctor at the surgery where Constance works as a secretary. Handsome and engaging, it’s not long before the two of them have a fling. But Samuel doesn’t want anything serious and ends it. The problem is that Constance is certain Samuel is the love of her life. Much of the story is devoted to the time after the end of their relationship from the hook-ups to the parts when Constance is in her house. As it gets creepier, Constance starts revealing more about herself in the letter.

It’s at this part when we learn more about Constance’s life before London that my perspective of her began to change. She is definitely breaking boundaries with her fixation with Samuel but her life has been one of loss and in her eyes, desertion. Add to this the weird relationship she has with her flatmate and Constance’s circumstances begin to play a bigger role in why she’s acting so possessively. She’s not a truly likeable character – it’s hard to like someone when they’ve broken in to someone else’s flat and tried on their mother’s wedding dress – but she is fascinating. It’s relatively rare to read a first-person perspective of a stalker and Constance also attracts a lot of bad luck. As for Samuel, I really didn’t understand what Constance saw in him. He’s charming and a smooth talker, but it’s clear that he strings women along for a good time when he wants. There were plenty of examples of him leading Constance on, then blanking her later on. His behaviour at times was abominable.

The crescendo of the story is brutal and raw. The appearance of a secondary character, Edward (an elderly man with a penchant for collecting curios and telling stories) helped to soften it somewhat. However, it didn’t fully redeem Constance in my eyes. Yes, she has had a horrible time and needs help but I was surprised that the police weren’t involved more. Perhaps it was Constance’s good luck where Samuel was involved, perhaps it was another plot device to make the reader feel more for Constance. Was she lucky? It’s difficult to say. Would I want her on the streets? Probably not. It’s this ambiguity that kept me reading during some of the flatter parts of the book as Constance and Samuel got together, then he pushed her away. This seemed a little repetitive and served more to emphasise what a tool Samuel was to me more than anything else. But overall, the book was well written and came up with some complex moral issues that I could see a book club debating throughout the night over. If I Can’t Have You is a polished debut.

Thank you to Pan Macmillan for the copy of this book. My review is honest.

http://samstillreading.wordpress.com ( )
  birdsam0610 | Aug 1, 2020 |
If I Can't Have You is a book which tackles many issues head-on. It's an incredibly accomplished debut novel from Charlotte Levin.

The book begins with an explosive scene: a young woman on a tube in a wedding dress, blood on the dress and her face, spitting out a tooth, followed by the beginning of her letter to Samuel which makes up the entire book. The young woman is Constance Little, 26 years old and a receptionist in a doctor's surgery. She is such a complex and troubled character and her story is an exceptional one.

This is an intense read and as such it required some concentration from me, particularly in the first half of the book, but I read the last half in a couple of sittings over the course of one day and reading large chunks at a time worked really well as I was able to fully immerse myself in Constance's car crash of a life and her infatuation with Samuel. It's a character-driven story, all seen from Constance's razor-sharp and exacting point of view.

What a character she is! I veered between worrying about her obsessive, to the point of scary, behaviour, to feeling so incredibly sorry for her. A lack of self-worth coupled with overwhelming grief have made her vulnerable, particularly to the kind of man who rides roughshod over women.

I really enjoyed the other characterisations as well, particularly seen through Constance's eyes. The people she works with don't come off particularly well but there's a character she meets called Edward who I thought was perfectly portrayed.

Charlotte Levin writes with a dry humour that made me smile and a rawness that moved me. I loved her writing style and the way the story is told as if Constance is talking to Samuel throughout. It's clever and original, and is a heartbreaking story of fixation, loss and the way the effects of childhood can reverberate down the years. ( )
  nicx27 | Jul 17, 2020 |
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