Thursday, 22 September 2011

A Voice in the Distance by Tabitha Suzuma

In his final year at the Royal College of Music, star pianist Flynn Laukonen has the world at his feet. He has moved in with his girlfriend Jennah and is already getting concert bookings for what promises to be a glittering career. Yet he knows he is skating on thin ice - only two small pills a day keep him from plunging back into the whirlpool of manic depression that once threatened to destroy him. Unexpectedly his friends seem to be getting annoyed with him for no apparent reason, he needs less and less sleep, he is filled with unbridled energy. Events begin to spiral out of control and Flynn suddenly finds himself in hospital, heavily sedated, carnage left behind him. The medication isn't working any more, the dose needs to be increased, and depression strikes again, this time with horrific consequences. His freedom is snatched away and the medicine's side-effects threaten to jeopardize his chances in one of the biggest piano competitions of his life. It seems like he has to make a choice between the medication and his career. But in all this he has forgotten the one person he would give his life for, and Flynn suddenly finds himself facing the biggest sacrifice of all.

A Voice in the Distance is the sequel to Tabitha Suzuma's other novel, A Note of Madness. Again, it is based around pianist Flynn, and his struggle to cope with bipolar. As an addition to the previous book, the tale is now told in two POV's - Flynn's and his girlfriend, Jennah's. That is probably one of the things I best loved about this book - you not only saw how the mental illness affected Flynn, but also the loved ones around him. I honestly think that this book is better than its prequel, but prehaps that is because I was more emotionally attatched to the last one, and found it uncomfortable to face up to some home truths? All the way throughout the story, Suzuma manages to keep it realistic, making sure that it isn't sugarcoated - it is just the raw truth. She captures the relationship between Jennah and Flynn amazingly, and at the end I could feel tears in my eyes. Although I wish the ending had been different, I know that what happened had to happen - but I want to read more. I really hope that Suzuma continues this tale and extends it into a triology so that I can see what happens to the pair - and their family and friends - next. I really enjoyed these two books, and I want to read the last of Suzuma's five novels soon.

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