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Andrea Gillies lives in St Andrews with her family and is now writing a novel.
Nina Findlay, alluring, accomplished, deluded, always the heroine of her own life, has found an irresistible safety in being adored by two men, brothers she's known since childhood. But when her sister-in-law becomes gravely ill, the triangle that Nina's depended on becomes catastrophically unstable. The life she's known begins rapidly to unravel, and odd things begin to happen which those around her insist are all in her mind. Separated from her husband, she goes on holiday to a tiny Greek island, the honeymoon island of 25 years earlier, and is involved in a serious road accident. There, while recuperating, she becomes close to her doctor, who's also on the point of divorce. A new relationship seems possible - but what's real in the situation, and what's imagined? Pressed in on all sides by other people's truths, how can Nina be sure of identifying her own? A diary that was her mother's proves to be a turning point. Perhaps romantic love is always a kind of undiagnosed madness.Face to face with the facts behind her assumptions, the time has come for Nina to unravel the taut knot of her past.
Growing up in a Scottish village, best friends with the boys next door, Nina Findlay thinks her life will unfold like an old folktale. She ends up marrying one of those boys, remaining best friends with the other. For many years the three of them assure themselves that the triangle is stable. The triangle is stable, until Nina's sister-in-law dies and the whole delicate balance is thrown into chaos. It's stable until, one fateful evening, her brother-in-law appears on her doorstep. Separated from her husband and encouraged to take a break, Nina travels to a small island in Greece - the same one she'd gone to on honeymoon 25 years earlier - and is involved in a serious road accident. While convalescing in the village hospital, and filled by what the doctor calls survivor's euphoria , Nina can't stop thinking and remembering and obsessing about the details of the past. An old diary she's brought with her proves to be a turning point. Perhaps romantic love is always a kind of undiagnosed madness. The time has come, she realises, to unravel the taut knot of her life -
On a hot summer's afternoon, Ursula Salter runs sobbing from the loch on her parents' Scottish estate and confesses, distraught, that she has killed Michael, her 19-year old-nephew. But what really happened? No body can be found, and Ursula's story is full of contradictions. In order to protect her, the Salters come up with another version of events, a decision that some of them will come to regret. Years later, at a family gathering, a witness speaks up and the web of deceit begins to unravel. What is the white lie? Only one person knows the whole truth. Narrating from beyond the grave, Michael takes us to key moments in the past, looping back and back until - finally - we see what he sees.
Winner of the inaugural Wellcome Trust Book Prize 2009 (the 2011 prize is announced in October) and the Orwell Prize 2010. This book could so easily have been subtitled A Descent into Hell, that it isn’t is thanks to Andrea Gillies exploratory method of care, her seeking to find out just what is happening in her mother-in-laws brain as she succumbs to Alzheimer’s. She reports on her progress through the disease showing not just the devastation on the sufferer but for those around them trying to deal with an imperious old lady no longer responsible for her actions. Andrea Gillies also reveals the huge problems we have as a society with Dementia care, the ageing population bringing untold problems as the numbers of dementia patients continues to rise. This all sounds very depressing, but due to Andrea Gillies’ detective work it is an essay in trying to understand and the more fascinating for that, making this a most inspirational piece of writing, beautifully observed, utterly honest and an emotionally draining account of neurological illness.Like for Like Reading The Selfish Pig’s Guide to Caring: How to Cope with the Emotional and Practical Aspects of Caring for Someone, Hugh Marriott