Daily Review: The Girl He Left Behind by Lesley Hayes
January 15, 2018
Literary fiction at its best: thought-provoking and deep but also with a lot of tension and suspense.
Charismatic and deeply troubled Alex experiences a mid-life metamorphosis with a shattering shrapnel effect. Kat’s world was changed forever by their first meeting, and twenty years later she is still making sense of the changes their relationship has brought about. What lies at the core of Alex, the person she remains attached to despite everything?
Today our self-concept has become paramount. But to what extent do we control the events that shape us, and is transformation always what we imagine? Can any of us say with certainty that we understand the person we love, or ourselves? An exploration of the consequences of choice, the challenges and shifting face of love, and the quest to inhabit a fluid yet credible identity, The Girl He Left Behind poses important questions for our times.
Whenever I read a book by Lesley Hayes, I am always surprised and delighted by the quality of her prose. I am often reminded as I am here of Henry James, a fact I am sure I may have at least thought if not referred to before, but once again I felt it in reading this book. I am considerate in writing reviews of how I might direct potential readers as to the suitability of a book for them.
This is a book for readers who enjoy literature, who have lived, loved, lost and maybe loved again. Here Lesley asks questions that we have all asked ourselves. The beauty of the book, the pain of the book as it seeps through the pages, is that it is very real.
The human condition is explored through identity and love and I believe that love is at the heart of every great novel. The skill of the author is demonstrated in how that is explored. It would be too easy to explain her insight to emotion and attachment, pain and choice, to her background as a psychotherapist.
There is far too much truth in here that only comes from the experience of a life lived. The Girl He Left Behind is a standout novel, eloquent, entertaining and absolutely engaging.
Perhaps her finest work yet, I would encourage you to put this book at the top of your reading list. A wonderful and enjoyable book of quality that deserves to be read and easily qualifies as a five-star read.
By Wilma Lettings
I was not prepared for this story. What started out as a complicated family situation between former lovers where children and new partners come into play turned into something much more profound. Alex used to go out with Kat, Alex’s daughter Petra being a link after the relationship ended.
While issues such as co-dependency and healthy attachment to others play definitely key roles, it is identity in its many forms that dominate the subject of this book.
I stopped reading after a while to check out the author’s biography and was not surprised to find a background in psychology. The character analysis, the insight into their thought processes and actions, the complexity of situations and of that what we are aware and unaware of – it all makes for some incredibly rewarding reading.
The topical and character-based writing is literary fiction at its best: thought-provoking and deep but also with a lot of tension and suspense, some surprises and a keen thirst in the reader to find out how all of this will find its denouement. Really brilliant.
Please click HERE to find The Girl He Left Behind on Amazon.