I had never heard of the writer when I picked this up from the second hand bookshelf at a local community centre. I read it cover to cover in a matter of days. Which is curious. Because in some ways it’s simply a tale of a boy growing up to be a man, marrying and getting old and in the meantime finding his parentage is not as he thought. Told in a simple, everyday way. No great shakes there. And yet…there’s something much more going on. Each chapter is titled as an object from the things we perhaps keep, or leave behind e.g. “Handwritten list of household items, c.1947’ and ‘Doorkey on a knotted loop of string; Wedding certificate, October 1968’. The things that trigger memories. That tell of a life. This is literary Tai Chi – seemingly slow and delicate, yet carrying a deep, unseen, profoundly moving power. And in it’s way quite beautiful.

I gave my copy to a friend, and bought a second copy for my wife. I felt like writing an on-line review. But I didn’t know what to say, apart from the fact it has a curious way of bouncing around inside my head. I had a look at earlier on-line comments. And read a reviewer saying; ‘It’s odd, it has a funny way of bouncing around your head.’ No point repeating, I thought and logged off. The title has informed quite a few of my coaching conversations. Is something an end, or a beginning? For surely an ending inevitably draws a beginning into life? So which one are we noticing, paying attention to, perhaps mourning/anticipating? There are stacks of warm reviews from all the big papers and magazines all over the covers of the book. Each seems to be talking about a different book. But they all love it. You might too.