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.


'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.

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

Books with similar mood


Ferdinand Mount

The Ghost Bride

Yangsze Choo

South of Centre

Andrea Carter

Brother in Ice

Alicia Kopf

Someone to Watch Over Me

Paul Wilson

Moss Witch and Other Stories

Sara Maitland

The Lace Reader

Brunonia Barry

The Grand Complication

Allen Kurzweil

The Man With the Compound Eyes

Wu Ming-Yi

Sister Crazy

Emma Richler

Death and the Penguin

Andrey Kurkov

The Tiger's Wife

Tea Obreht

The School of Night

Alan Wall

Lying in Bed

Polly Samson

The Opposite House

Helen Oyeyemi

The Invention of Everything Else

Samantha Hunt

Old Men in Love

Alasdair Gray


Antoni Libera

Hotel World

Ali Smith

Tail of the Blue Bird

Nii Ayikwei Parkes

My Father's Wives

Jose Eduardo Agualusa

Raising Sparks

Ariel Khan

Etta and Otto and Russell and James

Emma Hooper

The Pages

Murray Bail

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Susanna Clarke

Journey in Blue

Stig Dalager

When We Were Orphans

Kazuo Ishiguro

The Testament of Yves Gundron

Emily Barton


Chris Cleave

The Ghost of Munich

Georges-Marc Benamou

Holy Fire

Bruce Sterling

What is Not Yours is Not Yours

Helen Oyeyemi

Scenes from Village Life

Amos Oz


Christine Mangan

The Calligrapher's Secret

Rafik Schami

The Thirteenth Tale

Diane Setterfield

Specimen Days

Michael Cunningham

Crowe's Requiem

Mike McCormack

The Visible World

Mark Slouka


Will Eaves

The Gracekeepers

Kirsty Logan

Trigger Warning

Neil Gaiman

Breakfast with the Borgias

DBC Pierre

There But For The

Ali Smith

The Good Mayor

Andrew Nicoll

The Short Day Dying

Peter Hobbs

Plain Truth

Jodi Picoult

Heart of Tango

Elia Barcelo


Anthony Cartwright