Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey

Mr Five Word TL:DR Review : Took me completely by surprise

MeetMe

Meet Me in Another Life is a book that will defy your expectations, it will feel familiar, you’ll think you’ve got it nailed down, you’ll know exactly what’s going on here (well, sort of) right up until that moment of revelation when the author shows you that you knew nothing at all.  In between times, before that moment of disclosure, we have a story, that feels like a tale of reincarnation two people born again and again into each other’s timeline, playing different roles each time, lovers, teacher and student, parent and child, and then some more.  They’re not always born in the same place, there is constantly a disparity in where they find themselves, and yet, inexplicably they are drawn together through a shared desire to know more.  Let’s start at the beginning.

As the story kicks off we meet Thora and Santi in what appears to be their first meeting.  It doesn’t go particularly well and to an extent this is something that will be repeated over and over again in a kind of Groundhog Day style.  Don’t be put off though, sometimes they live full lives – not always together but always kind of in orbit around each other.

Now, I’m not going to say anything more about the story because, and I know I use this a lot, but it really could lead to spoilers and seriously you need to read this with as little knowledge beforehand as possible as that will only play more into the intrigue.

So, what can I discuss here today.  Well, a few things.

Overall feelings.  I liked this very much, I particularly like it given the ending – which isn’t to say I didn’t like the earlier chapters – just that the ending gives you a whole new bunch of things to think about plus a desire to backtrack and see what you missed along the way because you can rest assured that there is a trail of breadcrumbs just waiting to be pecked up by those hungry enough to pay attention.  I confess, I didn’t have the slightest notion so there we go – what can I say, I missed the breadcrumbs.

Characters.  Well, if you love characters that are well developed you’ll love these two.  Let’s just be honest, the author has a lot of opportunity to teach us different aspects to their nature, to show them in a good light or a not so good light.  To reinvent them on a constant basis but with enough consistencies to make them familiar to us in every iteration. It’s fantastic really because it plays into the whole ethos of just how well can you really know someone?  How long does it take to really know that person?  A lifetime – well, Thora and Santi have a whole bunch of lifetimes and they’re still learning about each other at the end of the book.

The setting.  Another really cool part of this – both characters are repeatedly drawn to the same place.  It’s like a force or irrepressible magnetism that they simply can’t deny.  Set in Cologne we find ourselves visiting over and over to such an extent that it becomes familiar, I feel like I could see the streets, the bars, the clock tower in my own mind.

Let’s not get away from those certain little things that are familiar.  Sometimes ‘familiar’ is comforting and there are definitely elements here that will feel like ‘things’ you know.  Obviously the constant reincarnations have a Life After Life feel.  The way that the two characters arrive at different points and places kind of reminded me a little of The Time Traveller’s Wife, the repetitive nature of certain aspects could be likened to Groundhog Day, the little inconsistencies experienced in each episode – well, I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.  There are undeniably familiar elements to this story but not only does it stand on it’s own two feet – primarily because of this winning combination between science and theology that is constantly discussed and argued by Thora and Santi, one determined to believe in fate and miracles, the other sticking to science and proven things together – but, it evolves in a direction that I never saw coming.

On top of this, the story is packed with emotion which persists right up to the ending where… well, you’ll just have to read it and find out for yourself.

In terms of criticisms.  Okay, well, firstly, I cannot deny that this feels like a series of short stories with recurring characters.  Now, I’m not a lover of short stories so this could have become very old very fast for me, however, I think the author managed to get the timing perfect in that just as I was starting to feel a little ‘same old/same old’ she started to throw in changes and this is when the real mystery began.  The same thing could also be said of the repetitive nature of certain elements – this definitely had the capacity to become tiresome and yet I didn’t find it to be so because the author makes subtle changes all the time which lent it a fascinating aspect.

So criticisms. that aren’t really criticisms at all, put to one side.  Yes, this was a very good, entertaining, mysterious, fascinating and slightly heartbreaking read.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.

The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4.5 of 5 stars

6 Responses to “Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey”

  1. Tammy

    This sounds like my kind of book, and I love the comparisons you made😁 Awesome review!

  2. Calmgrove

    The best kind of review, thanks—hint a little, talk around it without spoilers, hint a little more, express an opinion, more tantalising—I now know what needs to be known, but in reality I know nothing. Brilliant! Thanks again. 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Haha – which is how I felt when the reveal took place and I realised I knew nothing too.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Lexlingua

    I’ll have to say, this really intrigued me. All those parallels to Life after Life, Time Traveler’s Wife and Groundhog Day… well, well, well. And if there’s also some reincarnation possibility into the mix? I’m all for it!

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s a book that definitely defied my expectations. Very easy to read and intriguing.
      Lynn 😀

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