Louis Drax is a boy like no other. He is brilliant and strange, and every year something violent seems to happen to him. On his ninth birthday, Louis goes on a picnic with his parents and falls off a cliff. The details are shrouded in mystery. Louis's mother is shell-shocked; his father has vanished. And after some confusion Louis himself, miraculously alive but deep in a coma, arrives at Dr. Pascal Dannachet's celebrated coma clinic...Full of astonishing twists and turns, this is a masterful tale of the secrets the human mind can hide.
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Liz Jensen is the acclaimed author of four other novels, most recently War Crimes for the Home. She lives in London.From Publishers Weekly:
Starred Review. Louis Drax isn't like other children. The morbidly imaginative and sharply intuitive boy from a provincial city in France has survived eight suspicious accidents, one for each year of his life. On his ninth birthday, Louis suffers a mysterious fall from a cliff and ends up in Dr. Pascal Dannachet's experimental coma clinic, where the truth of his most recent mishap will be revealed. So begins British novelist Jensen's fourth book (War Crimes for the Home, etc.), a fiercely intelligent psychological thriller told from the alternating perspectives of the comatose Louis and the professionally conflicted Dr. Dannachet. As the French police search for Pierre Drax, the prime suspect in his son's fall, Louis negotiates the unconscious world with Gustave, his grotesque, bandaged imaginary companion, and Dr. Dannachet reluctantly falls in love with Louis's mother, Natalie. Behind the many twists and turns that ensue is a multilayered, genuinely convincing emotional drama that adds substance to the suspense. Families are torn apart, scientists are confounded by the miraculous, and the human heart unleashes its many secrets. Jensen's gift for black humor and off-kilter narratives shines throughout this page-turner, and her understanding of fractured psyches and their ability to heal is remarkable. The idiosyncrasies of her peculiar characters only make them more engaging, and at the end of Jensen's gripping tale, the reader is left eager for more.
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