The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died

Alyson Rudd

This novel made me feel quite uneasy but at the same time it's a moving tale of loss and love. Lauren captures flashes of parallel worlds in which she lives on after her death. Her parents live in their own world. The disappearance of her father's boss is the recurrent theme. This spark of a mystery is a bonus and added to the suspense and my reading pleasure.

Extract

'I love', she shouted to Ski, and then it appeared.
Across the middle of the dance floor there hung a row of metal strings that had no end and no beginning. She gasped. There was beauty and danger and familiarity. And fear. And love. She swayed closer to the beams that were glittering mirrors and then suddenly magical glass. She peered into the rod that was closest to her eyeline saw the same dance floor, the same bar, but in place of students were lots of middle-aged men and women dressed in school uniform and dancing provocatively. The women had their hair in silly pigtails and wore short skirts and shirts that were too tight and the men were just drunk enough not to laugh at themselves. She peeled away and turned her back on the beams, which she sensed were reproducing. She wanted love not peculiarity.
But then she was twirled around again and the compulsion was too strong. She tilted her head and saw an empty supermarket with a solitary woman mopping the floor. The overhead lights flickered and the woman looked over her shoulder as if only just at that moment realising she was alone in a big building. Lauren wanted to hug her but then she mopped her way out of view and Lauren was left staring at an aisle of breakfast cereal and teabags. She stepped to her left to peer into another kingdom but it was without illumination of any kind.

Parallels
  • Life after Life by Kate Atkinson
  • The End of Loneliness by Benedict Wells
  • The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan