Afterlife by Sean O'Brien

Afterlife

Sean O'Brien

This claustrophobic novel centres on a group of self-obsessed poetry students caught up in self-destructive behaviour. I found the first half of this book slow, and the literary prose at times over complicated. However as I read on, I felt the pace of the plot became more accessible and there were definite rewards on reaching the climax of the novel. Start this book only if you promise to read it to the final page.

Extract

When she'd gone I stared down at the pool of last year's leaves. The problem, I could see, was not that I imposed meaning on phenomena, but that they were doing it to me. I could be such a leaf, a black tongue reclining on a bed of its brothers under the cold skin of the pool. I could be a howling prick as well. I was versatile, clearly. A cloud crossed the sun and erased the depth of the water.

Parallels
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  • A Fatal Inversion by Barbara Vine
  • The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst