The Fractured Life of Jimmy Dice by Ronan Ryan

The Fractured Life of Jimmy Dice

Ronan Ryan

The device of narration by Jimmy's dead twin is the initial ask, but once accepted, is something like our internal conversation with our better self - except that construct doesn't have access to the thoughts of our family and friends. The well-meaning lies that cover the too-harsh facts of Jimmy's family past can only be made whole through this disembodied objectivity plus personal tenderness. An addictive read.

Extract

In Jimmy's room, Elizabeth creeps close to him, sychronising her breathing with his. The lights are off, but the full moon is shining through the window. His eyelids are scrunched, and he sucks air noisily through his mouth and pumps it out. She kisses his cheek lightly and whispers, almost inaudibly, 'We love you'. Then she sits on the chair, without a squeak.
She's taken in by his pretence of being asleep. Jimmy believes he can feel her watching him, but doesn't hear her. As the minutes tick by, he's tempted to open his eyes and confirm she's still there. He's about to when he feels his blanket shift and slowly rise away from his chest, then from his lower body. Spiky air probes his bare whole leg and his mummified stump. He cracks open his eyes and, squinting, sees Elizabeth standing there, pulling the blanket up by its hem. Her rapt grimace as she stares at his stump is positively ghoulish.

Parallels
  • Kith and Kin by Stevie Davies
  • The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
  • The Afterglow by Anthony Cartwright

Books with similar mood

The Orchardist

Amanda Coplin

The Cloud Sketcher

Richard Rayner

Sharks in the Time of Saviours

Kawai Strong Washburn

In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman

The House of Shattered Wings

Aliette de Bodard

The Birth of Venus

Sarah Dunant

As Though She Were Sleeping

Elias Khoury

The Seducer

Jan Kjaerstad

The Axeman's Jazz

Ray Celestin

Burnt Shadows

Kamila Shamsie

The Hungry Ghosts

Anne Berry

My Name is Red

Orhan Pamuk

An Orchestra of Minorities

Chigozie Obioma

The Buried Giant

Kazuo Ishiguro

Traveller of the Century

Andres Neuman

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton

Elizabeth L Silver

The Company Man

Robert Jackson Bennett

Of Bees and Mist

Erick Setiawan

The Alchemy of Desire

Tarun Tejpal

The Love of Stones

Tobias Hill

The Wilding

Maria McCann

A Book of Strange New Things

Michel Faber

Absolution

Patrick Flanery

The Swan Thieves

Elizabeth Kostova

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

David Wroblewski

The Blind Assassin

Margaret Atwood

The Woman at 1,000 Degrees

Hallgrímur Helgason

Endgame

Ahmet Altan

Middle Age: A Romance

Joyce Carol Oates

The Old Drift

Namwali Serpell

The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder

Sarah Harris

Europe in Autumn

Dave Hutchinson

The House of Rumour

Jake Arnott

South of Centre

Andrea Carter

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

Matthew Green

The Gift of Rain

Tan Twan Eng

Austerlitz

W G Sebald

The Lake

Daniel Villasenor

Santa Evita

Tomas Elroy Martinez

A Clash of Kings

George R R Martin

Psychoraag

Suhayl Saadi

Waking Lions

Ayelet Gunder-Goshen

Thus Bad Begins

Javier Marías

Nowhere People

Paulo Scott

Petite Mort

Beatrice Hitchman

The Calligrapher's Secret

Rafik Schami

The Invention of Everything Else

Samantha Hunt

Oh, Play That Thing

Roddy Doyle

Soul Mountain

Gao Xingjian