Can anyone help me remember this book please? I can only remember the first chapter....

(11 Posts)
KeithLeMonde Sat 09-Apr-16 20:22:22

It was either a book of short stories or one of those where each chapter is an episode from the character's life told as a standalone incident.

First story or chapter was told from a child's POV. The child's mother was either dying or had recently died, and the father had joined some kind of New Age-y support group. They drove to a meeting of the support group which was held in a large house. While the meeting was going on, the children of the group were left to their own devices in the garden. There was some kind of dangerous play structure - a tall tree, tree house, climbing frame, rope swing etc. There was an older child who was bullying the smaller ones. One of the children fell off the dangerous whatever-it-was. The child narrator did not find out whether or not the other child had been killed - they left the house straight after the accident.

Hoping this rings a bell with someone! Wondering whether it might possibly have been an Alice Monro short story.

lostindevon Sat 09-Apr-16 20:49:22

I've no idea, but place marking because it sounds fab!!

KeithLeMonde Sat 09-Apr-16 20:57:40

Here's hoping that someone else knows what it is, Lost.

Hygge Thu 14-Apr-16 19:38:16

This sounds familiar, I think I've read this.

I'm not sure it was by Alice Munro, it could have been, but I don't think I've read much by her and nothing of hers is standing out while I'm looking at it.

I'll keep thinking about it but hopefully someone else will be able to help in the meantime.

Donthate Thu 14-Apr-16 19:43:32

I feel like I have read it. Are you sure the structure was in the garden and not a staircase and the child fell from a high bannister?

KeithLeMonde Fri 15-Apr-16 17:14:12

Thanks Hygge and Donthate. It's possible it was a staircase. I had a mental picture of them all out in the garden but that may have been me overlaying memories of old houses I went to as a kid!

The other author I thought it might have been was Melissa Bank as her books are often those sort of low key episodes from a character's life told in a series of almost self-contained chapters. I've read two of hers though (Girls Guide and The Wonder Spot) and I don't think this was in either of those.

Hygge Fri 15-Apr-16 18:57:33

This has been niggling at me all day and could the book be How To Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer?

Hygge Fri 15-Apr-16 19:02:09

I'm not able to check for my copy yet, but now the name has come to me I really think it's that book.

KeithLeMonde Sat 16-Apr-16 15:06:03

Oh my goodness, thank you so much, Hygge, that is the one!!

Synopsis of the first story, Pilgrims, here (contains spoilers, though TBH so did my post above): www.nytimes.com/2003/10/19/books/survival-of-the-meanest.html

Thank you so much, this has been bugging me for about a year!

Hygge Sat 16-Apr-16 17:35:32

Glad I could help.

It's really annoying when you almost know but just can't quite remember.

I kept thinking it was something about water, or about whales, or about singing underwater, and googling just kept bringing up Jodi Picoult but I knew it wasn't one of hers.

I was driving DH mad muttering about underwater singing whales before the name came to me grin

Pantah630 Sat 16-Apr-16 17:54:57

Sounds vaguely similar to About a Boy but I may well be far off track.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now