Written with all the tenderness and psychological intensity that made Room an international bestseller, Akin is a funny, heart-wrenching tale of an old man and a boy, born two generations apart, who unpick their painful story and start to write a new one together.
Noah, a retired professor from the Upper West Side meets, for the first time, his 11-year-old great-nephew Michael just as he was about to embark on a trip to Nice. They both set out for the South of France, where they discover each other’s nuances and unearth family secrets that neither of them were prepared for. Read the thoughts of our reviewers below.
An Unlikely Pair
Chris says: There is the generational—and technological—divide between an eighty-year old and an eleven-year old. […] Then there’s their difference in social status and background. Whereas Noah lives a comfortable, upper-middle class life, Michael lives in the rough part of New York and has known food rations most of his life. And while Michael was born in New York, Noah was an immigrant from France, set off in a boat during the end of World War II. Both know pain and loss, but decades apart.
Jowana says: Noah, a member of the Silent Generation, is a former professor living a more or less comfortable life. Michael, part of the Generation Z, has lost his parents to illegal drugs and, at some point in his life, lived on food assistance. Donoghue takes her time before she illuminates their similarities: Michael loves taking selfies and Noah adores his grandfather, a famous photographer; both of them are pretty stubborn; both of them understand the pain of losing a loved one; and both of them are fiercely loyal to their family despite their occasional doubts.
A Trip to Nice
Chris says: Nice becomes the third character in the book, inasmuch as the room was in Room. Emma Donoghue describes Nice with such life that it’s impossible not to fall in love with the place and its past. It makes you want to visit it the next time you’re in France, just to see the places that Noah and Michael went to.
Jowana says: Together, their unlikely partnership will unmask family secrets in Southern France. You see, while going through the personal effects of his dead sister, Noah discovered several photographs taken by her mother. Spare another thought for Noah: a deep, dark secret is the last thing he needs in Nice.
Chris says: A somber meditation on life, death, and legacy. […] It sums up so much of what we miss in someone when they’re gone, when the places they’ve walked on still carry echoes of their memories. We retrace them hoping to understand them in a way we never could when they were still alive.
Jowana says: Akin has chosen wisely not to clarify the moral lines and, instead, succinctly asks, “Should your betrayal be measured by the secrets you’d thought you were revealing, or by what the consequences had been?” Indeed, one cannot change the secrets of the past but we all have to live through its consequences.
Akin will soon be available at Fully Booked branches. Email us to reserve a copy.
[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our writers anyway.]
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