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The Mirror World of Melody Black by Gavin Extence

The Mirror World of Melody Black

Literary Fiction   Books of the Month   Family Drama   Relationship Stories   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   

RRP £14.99

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March 2015 Book of the Month.

A surprisingly intimate and compelling read, and one that exposes an emotionally challenging and often hidden world. The diverting way in which the author introduces Abby, suggests that something is essentially different, but at the same time she feels extraordinarily real…not perfect, just some sort of normal. You feel encouraged to invest in Abby, to get to know her, both on the surface as you witness her every day life and occasional escapades but also inside, where you start to explore the motion of her mind. This is clever writing, at times softly blurred around the edges, sometimes amusingly engaging, while at others howling and penetrating in it’s intensity. Prepare to like Abby, to smile and laugh with her, to feel perplexed, to empathise and want to hug her, prepare to be left thoroughly captivated in this thought provoking and stimulating novel.~ Liz Robinson

Click here to see The Universe Versus Alex Woods by the same author.

If you like Gavin Extence you might also like to read books by Jojo Moyes, Nathan Filer and Eowyn Ivey.

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Abby, a journalist, lives with her boyfriend; they are happy and life is good. One day she discovers her next-door neighbour Simon dead in his flat, and, strangely, at first it seems to have little effect on her. In fact, it has a profound consequence, and she enters a ‘manic’ episode, associated with her previously diagnosed depression, and her behaviour quickly spirals out of control. Her ‘high’ escalates out of all proportion and she seems bent on a path of self-destruction. Extence writes with wisdom and compassion about a sensitive subject that most readers will be able to relate to on some level. It is a stark look at mental illness from a personal perspective – eye opening, thought-provoking and very readable. He skilfully combines the horror of a young woman’s slide in to depression with the right mix of comic, light-hearted humour and ending on a positive note. Literally unputdownable.
~ Caroline White

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Katie Hoare - 'Brilliantly told. There are funny moments in this story, but you are also given a good insight into the ups and downs of what it is like for someone who has bipolar. The reader is taken on a real rollercoaster ride with Abby.' Read full review >
  • Joy Bosworth - 'Different and quite enthralling. I found I really enjoyed this book and would recommend anyone to give it a try, it is worth it.' Read full review >
  • Holly Kilminster - 'Honest, haunting and shocking, this is an incredible read that will make you stop and think. The plot will grab you with both hands and draw you so far into the story that you can't (and won't want to) climb out again.' Read full review >
  • Janet Monks - 'In places the novel is dark, but its wit and myriad of characters makes it enjoyable and fast paced reading. When finished, I began reading again - because what happens to Abby sheds a new light on what has gone before.' Read full review >
  • Annette Woolfson - 'At last, a ‘one-sitting read’! Gavin Extence has done it again. I cannot think of a book that I have read in the last few years in which I connected so well with the characters.' Read full review >
  • Sarah Harper - 'One of the truest, funniest, and sharpest books I have ever read. I loved this book so much, it’s absolutely fantastic.' Read full review >
  • Janet Trossell - 'An amazing novel which takes us on a roller coaster ride full of unexpected happenings, written with a wry humour, always full of surprises.' Read full review >
  • Sue Broom - 'Rarely has a character appealed to me so strikingly as Abby does in this novel - and to think that she was written by a man is testament to his skill.' Read full review >
  • Zarina de Ruiter - 'The Mirror World of Melody Black paints a poignant and achingly realistic picture of mental illness, but it is also a humorous and very witty read.' Read full review >
  • Katy Noyes - 'Insightful and shocking look at one woman's loss of control. Promising second novel from a talented author not afraid to write about taboo subjects.' Read full review >
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'What an incredibly powerful story, made more so by the final chapter, Afterword.' Read full review >
  • Ruth Carson - 'I really enjoyed this book.  It's a well written account of a young woman's struggle with mental illness that pulls you in from the first page.' Read full review >
  • Cat Hogwood - 'A book that explores relationships between partners, friends and healthcare professionals. This book will not disappoint - a must read!' Read full review >
  • Emma Smith - 'A well thought through book that provides insight into mental health problems.' Read full review >
  • Sophia Ufton - 'Amazing story, loved reading this book! Really made me think and have started re-reading it again.' Read full review >
  • Alex Hetherington - 'This novel could almost be split in two, cracked open and observed as two different stories, but what makes it so good is it’s about life and every moment.' Read full review >
  • Elena Robertson - 'An honest look into one woman's journey living with a mental illness. This book is dark and painful but also manages to make you laugh taking you along for the ride that is Abby's life.' Read full review >
  • Nikki Whitmore - 'To steal a quote from the back cover of the book: Life has its ups and downs...With the subject matter, it could so easily have been a morose read but it wasn’t.' Read full review >
  • Marjorie Lacy - 'Gavin is a good and 'deep' author..His writing style is easy and readable. His opening plot of the neighbour's death, drew me in and kept my attention.' Read full review >

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The Mirror World of Melody Black by Gavin Extence

Life has its ups and downs. From the author of The Universe Versus Alex Woods comes a dark, painful and witty novel about a woman whose life is spiralling out of control.

You're going to find some of my actions frustrating. I'm hard to live with, maddening, uneven - I get that. But I can't stand around listing my faults or we'll be here for ever. All I ask right now is that you indulge me. For as long as it lasts, this is going to be one hell of a ride.


'[Abby's] at the heart of Gavin Extence's sensitive, witty second novel. The immediacy of his writing draws you into Abby's world, and cleverly shows how fine the line is that separates what we call 'normal'
from not

' * Psychologies * 'Author Gavin Extence's funny and dark second novel is your commute's saviour' * Stylist * 'Extence really brings Abby to life in this honest, uequivocal narrative...There is something curiously cathartic about this book, as well as having the bravery, touching honesty and memorable protagonist that Extence is making his trademark' * Heat * 'Insightful and sensitive, Extence describes with the lightest of touches what it's like to live with bipolar' * Sunday Express * The quality of [Extence's] writing is high and often hilarious * Irish Daily Mail * '[Extence] captures how the illness feels from the inside with sensitivity and sparkling humour. In Abby he has created a warm, funny and relatable heroine' * Daily Express * 'Finely drawn characters. Cleverly woven narrative. I hope it receives the plaudits it deserves'
Patrick, Simon Mayo Book Club listener

'I was engrossed in Abby's life. I would definitely recommend this book to others'
Pat, Simon Mayo Book Club listener

'Love it! Even better book than Alex Woods. I can't recommend this book enough. It's like nothing else I've ever read in recent years, and it will stay with me for a long time'
Sally, Simon Mayo Book Club listener

'From the first sentence I well spellbound. Hard to put down. Imagine a cross between Bridget Jones'
Diary and One Flew Over the Cuckoo

's Nest'
Lily, Simon Mayo Book Club listener

'My top book club book ever, I just love it. Abby the character is a triumph'
Rebecca Pike, Simon Mayo Book Club

'If we do a better book in our book club this year we'll have done very well. I'm a huge fan of this book... I love it'
Matt Williams, Simon Mayo Book Club

'A book of substance. The characters will stay with you'
Simon Mayo BBC Radio 2

's Book Club with Simon Mayo listeners: * - *'

About the Author

Gavin Extence

Gavin Extence was born in 1982 and grew up in the interestingly named village of Swineshead, Lincolnshire. From the ages of 5-11, he enjoyed a brief but illustrious career as a chess player, winning numerous national championships and travelling to Moscow and St Petersburg to pit his wits against the finest young minds in Russia. He won only one game.

Author photo © Alix Extence

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Book Info

Publication date

12th March 2015


Gavin Extence

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Hodder & Stoughton Ltd an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division


304 pages


Literary Fiction
Books of the Month
Family Drama
Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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