It was just another Saturday as Wendy Dixit watched her husband Naveem set out for another shift in his taxi, but then she got a phone call saying that he's been involved in an accident. With Naveem not only being in hospital, but in a coma, it means that Wendy has time to reflect on her life.
Having been used to her quiet, secluded life with her husband, she's now forced into situations where she has to communicate with strangers and open up which is something she's clearly not comfortable with. Her marriage to Naveem is self-absorbed, the two of them happy with their predictable daily routines, needing no-one else but each other. Naveem has his trains and Wendy has her books and together they tick along quite nicely. So being forcebly removed from this routine is a scary position for Wendy to be in. She desperately wants not only her husband, but her life as she knows it back.
It took a little while for me to get into this book and I did struggle with the nature of Naveem's accident but this was purely for personal reasons and no reflection at all on the writing. I'm glad that I got past that though as this is a beautiful story about how quickly life can change and the repurcussions that these changes have.
Following Wendy on her journey of self discovery was thought provoking, just how well do we know the people around us, including our spouse. I particularly enjoyed watching her relationship with her neighbour Mrs Rampersad (or Mrs Ampersand as she will forever be in my head!) grow. Brushed off at first as an interfering busy-body, it was a joy to see Wendy flourish and embrace this new found friendship which was wonderfully scattered with subtle humour.
With or Without You is a gentle, thought-provoking and emotional read that will make you think about so many relevant topics from mortality, friendships, family, mental health issues, loneliness and how we find our own paths in life. Drew Davies is clearly a very accomplished writer and I'll definitely look out for his other books in the future.
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About the author
|Photo courtesy of Drew Davies
Drew Davies was born in London and grew up in Whanganui, New Zealand. He attended the Unitec School of Performing Arts in Auckland and won a Playmarket New Zealand Young Playwright of the Year award in 2000. After a brief stint on a kiwi soap, he has worked in Search for the past 15 years. Drew’s other claim to fame is that Stephen Fry once called him droll. Either that, or he got his name wrong. He now lives in Wanstead, London.
You can find out more about Drew, his books and connect with him using the links below:
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With kind thanks to the publishers Bookouture and NetGalley for my review copy.