After the End

by Clare Mackintosh

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Family Drama Books of the Month Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Star Books Book Club Recommendations Literary Fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of After the End

Extraordinarily beautiful, emotional, and provocative, this is an incredibly worthwhile read.

Prepare yourself for an emotional read… full of deep abiding love and hope, there are also parts of this book that caused an intensely physical ache long after I’d finished reading. I don’t want to give too much away, I want you to be able to enter as I did, and experience all that is on offer. So, let me just say that Max and Pip have to make an impossible decision, one that will affect them forever more. The prologue sets the scene perfectly, and I felt a fellow sharp intake of breath at the last sentence before moving to chapter one. This is one of those books where I didn’t make many notes as I read, I was completely caught up in the story. Each character is perfectly placed, their emotions reaching out from the page to touch my heart and soul. There are times when right and wrong do not exist in a clear, comprehensive format and this book successfully shreds presupposition into tiny confetti-like pieces. After I had finished reading, the note at the end by Clare Mackintosh sent goosebumps skittering down my arms. After the End is powerful, provocative, and I can wholeheartedly recommend this extraordinarily beautiful read. I have chosen it as one of my picks of the month and a LoveReading star book.

Liz Robinson

After the End Synopsis

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The powerful and page-turning new novel from number one Sunday Times bestseller, Clare Mackintosh.

Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. Only now they're facing the most important decision of their lives - and they don't agree.

As the consequences of an impossible choice threaten to devastate them both, nothing will ever be the same again.

But anything can happen after the end . . .

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780751564914
Publication date: 28th May 2020
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Publisher: Sphere an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 384 pages
Collections: 50+ Emotionally Turbulent yet Beautiful Novels, Summer Reading,
Primary Genre Family Drama
Other Genres:
Recommendations:

What To Read After After the End

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Afterwards
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After the End 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.

I was privileged to be able to review this book prior to publication as Clare Mackintosh is one of my favourite authors. After the End is very different from her psychological thrillers and is written from the heart about a subject which is close to her and is emotionally heart-breaking from the very beginning.

I was privileged to be able to review this book as Clare Mackintosh is one of my favourite authors and I always look forward to reading when she has a new book out. I have read her other books and loved them. But this is different for her other books. This is not a psychological thriller although still very well written and engaging and read it in a couple of days. I would have read it quicker had being at work not got in the way as have been known to read her other books in one day.

After the End is very different from her psychological thrillers and is written from the heart about a subject which is close to her and is emotionally heart-breaking from the very beginning. It was Clares own loss that has inspired her to write After the End. I didn't know until I reached the end of the book that Clare herself had had to face the same heart-breaking decision as Pip and Max as to whether it was time to terminate the life of their terminally ill son. Pip and Max have a 3 year old son called Dylan who falls ill with cancer that leaves him with brain damage and the doctors and medical professionals are unable to do anything more for him.

Max and Pip must make a decision that changes both their lives. But they both want different things for him. When a decision cannot be made or agreed upon by Dylans parents it is then put to the courts to decide what is best for him. The book then goes into alternate directions and takes on a sliding doors approach telling the end from what would happen if the court ruled to turn off all of the machines etc keeping Dylan alive and letting him die peacefully which is what his mum Pip would like to happen and what would have happened if he is taking to america for light beam therapy treatment to see if that can offer a cure or a few more years to live which is the option dad Max is wanting to happen.

After the end also explores the effect on a marriage of a couple going through such difficult times and how it takes it toll on them both

This is an emotional and heart-breaking story of What the parents go through and the sacrifices they make when they have a terminally ill child and the aftermath and how life goes on. I personally don't have children but cannot begin to imagine what a parent must go through in these circumstances.

It is really hard to review this book as it is written from the heart and also hard to comment on it without giving spoilers away.

helen appleby

This novel will break your heart and put it back together piece by piece. You will never forget reading After The End and you never should.

After The End is the story of Pip and Max, parents to Dylan who is critically ill with a brain tumour. When they are asked to make a choice about what happens next, they both want what’s best for Dylan, but unfortunately they have completely opposing views as to what that should be.
This novel is not only about what happens next and why, it is a story about what it means to be a parent, and how the love we have for our children can make us realise that the most heartbreaking decision is the most selfless one we can make.
Pip and Max are bound together by their love for Dylan, but it is also the very thing that seeps into the cracks that are starting to form in their marriage, and takes them on a journey neither could have envisioned.
Clare Mackintosh has written an intensely personal and truly remarkable novel, which not only deals with the day to day realities of being parents to a very sick child, but also unflinchingly holds up a mirror to us and asks - when faced with an impossible decision, what would you do for your child?
After The End is a novel which I will never forget and will recommend endlessly. It is a devastating and yet life affirming story of the truly transformative power of love that a parent has for a child, and the lengths that they will go to for them.

Clare Reynolds

When I began this book I knew nothing about it (except that I had enjoyed other books by the author) and I quickly realised that this book was going to be different. Max and Pip are happily married with a young son, Dylan aged nearly 3. Terrifyingly, Dylan is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and a heartbreaking decision has to be made by both parents.

When I began this book I knew nothing about it (except that I had enjoyed other books by the author) and I quickly realised that this book was going to be different. Max and Pip are happily married with a young son, Dylan aged nearly 3. Terrifyingly, Dylan is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and a heartbreaking decision has to be made by both parents.
Since reading, I know that the author is writing from the point of view of personal experience and the emotions and situations the characters are going through are well described and allow the reader to both sympathise and empathise. I found the book thought-provoking, especially in relation to the social media / media and TV coverage aspect. It really made me think about how and why people react to the themes in this book in real life situations and how this affects the parents portrayed in the book. I found I had an emotional reaction to the story and indeed I had to put the book down a few times to take a break from those feelings as a parent myself.
After the End is cleverly laid out and written. I am against spoilers so I will try not to say too much, but it is rare nowadays that I get to a point in a book when I have a lightbulb moment and think “Oh wow! I know what the author is about to do here!” and I found it very enjoyable that an author can do this to me!

My favourite quote from the book, p62
“I guess when you become a parent yourself you have to work harder at being a child to your own parents.”
This just really resonates with me at the present time.

Hannah Fazakerley

Clare Mackintosh Press Reviews

Have just finished Clare Mackintosh's extraordinary, heartrending life-lesson of a book - it is an absolute tour de force. Everyone should read After the End. Impressive, thoughtful, authentic and moving -- Jill Mansell

One of the most moving stories I have ever read. It's perfect -- Joanna Cannon

After the End is a gorgeously written and sincerely moving novel. First it broke my heart, but then helped put it back together in unexpected ways. I know it will preoccupy my thoughts for a long time to come -- Rhiannon Navin, author of Only Child

Clare Mackintosh takes us on a heart-rending, vivid journey through one of the toughest situations a parent could face - she's Britain's answer to Jodi Picoult -- Lucy Atkins

A tender, heart-breaking, uplifting, truthful marvel of a novel. Clare Mackintosh has taken her already wonderful writing to a whole new level -- Adele Parks

An exquisite novel - tragic, clever, life-affirming and original all at once -- Catherine Isaac

A powerful exploration of grief, love and the way in which all decisions - both large and small - can have life-changing results. -- Jill Santopolo, New York Times bestselling author of The Light We Lost and More Than Words

I read After the End in one emotional sitting. It's beautiful, original, moving and thought-provoking -- Sinead Crowley

Such a perfectly poised novel, with authentic heart and depth, that examines the worst moments of our lives, and still somehow uncovers hope and the indomitable strength of the human spirit. Everyone should read this beautiful book -- Rowan Coleman, author of The Summer of Impossible Things

Unforgettable and profoundly moving, this is a novel about the bottomless human capacity for love and endurance, even in the most heartbreaking circumstances -- Rosie Walsh, author of The Man Who Didn't Call

A moving and thought-provoking novel. Cleverly written, with hope as well as heartbreak -- Libby Page, author of The Lido

A beautifully written novel, compelling and clever, tender and true. I can't stop thinking about it -- Liane Moriarty

Both utterly heart rending and incredibly uplifting, After the End is the most moving book you'll read this year -- Lisa Jewell

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780751564914
Publication date: 28/05/2020
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780751564945
Publication date: 25/06/2019
Format: Hardback

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About Clare Mackintosh

Clare Mackintosh spent twelve years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 to work as a freelance journalist and social media consultant, and now writes full time. She is the founder and director of Chipping Norton Literary Festival, and lives in the Cotswolds with her husband and their three children.   Author photo © Smart Photography

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