A Good Man By Ani Katz – A Review

Publisher: William Heinemann

Publication Date: 16th January 2020

When I was first approached about this book I had a quick look at the blurb and thought yeah go on then I’ll give it a bash. When the book arrived, apart from stroking it’s gorgeous cover I put it in my book trolley and parked it.

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a book to read that wasn’t too long and I reached for A Good Man. Man am I glad I did!

I really don’t know what I was expecting from this book and when I picked it up I purposefully didn’t re-read the blurb and basically went into the book more or less blind. Of course I had a vague idea of the premise but I was sketchy on the details and I’m glad I was to be honest.

This book really blew my mind! Not really knowing what to expect I had no preconceived notions but still I feel like this book came out of left field and smacked me right round the head!

A Good Man tells the story of our protagonist Thomas. He is a married man with an 11-year-old daughter. He is the kind of man who considers himself to be a very hardworking, decent, and all-round reliable good guy. In the majority of the book he is.

Thomas has had a nightmarish childhood in which his parents had a less than normal marriage, his older Sister passed away and he was left to look after his mother and two younger twin sisters DeeDee and Kit.

Now in their early twenties the twins are still very much cosseted by their elderly mother and in most ways have not been allowed to grow up. Thomas for his part looks after his family financially and makes sure he visits regularly, however he finds his younger sister’s behaviour quite strange and immature and hopes that they will make something of themselves in the future although he has no faith that this will happen.

He also steadfastly ensures that he protects both his wife Miriam and his daughter Ava, who he refers to throughout the book as ‘my girls’. He wants to seal them in a protective bubble and make sure no harm comes to them from the outside world. He has an innate need to act as a buffer between his family and any potential dangers or upsets etc.

Thomas has a very good job in the world of advertising but slowly and steadily things start to fall apart around him and he begins to lose control of the life he held so dear and the family he is so desperate to protect and keep happy.

What I loved about this book was essentially watching one man fall to pieces in initially the smallest of ways, gradually building until Thomas no longer has the wherewithal to keep his wife happy and his daughter safe.

What we see is a man losing his mind, perpetuated by years of guilty feelings over his sister’s death and his father’s behaviour. He also feels he could’ve done more to ensure that his younger twin sisters saw more of the world, got an education, and lived a normal life outside of their home. As it is they have had a very cloistered life and they are now left looking after their ailing mother with Thomas shouldering the financial burden.

There is a very definite sense of a creeping unease throughout this whole book. You know that there has to be a conclusion as Thomas tries desperately to navigate the obstacles in his life. The pacing throughout the whole book is perfection. We learn about the kind of man Thomas is, we learn about his initial relationship with his wife and how that relationship has progressed over the years. As we watch him grow into a man, Husband and Father, we essentially then observe his undoing.

The ending of this book was such a shocker, the very last sentence gave me chills and I really wanted to just press the book into anyone’s hands and say ‘please read this’!

I really enjoyed Ani Katz writing style and I believe that this is her debut novel. If that’s true then I am very excited to read anything she writes in the future.

As I said at the start of this review, this book took me by surprise and I feel like I need to let everyone know that they need to pick it up and give it a whirl. It is by no means an uplifting book and it deals with some difficult subjects and is quite dark and disturbing, however I feel it is an important read and it is one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Thank you to the publisher and Alice Spencer for my review copy.

See you all soon.

Amanda – Bookish Chat xx

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