By Victoria Redel
Before Everything is an ode to friendship for readers of Anne Tyler, Kate Atkinson and Ann Patchett, full of dry humour, quiet wisdom and huge empathy.
End of sixth grade they made it their official name. It was a joke one afternoon but they liked the way it sounded. Permanent. The Old Friends. This way, the five girls agree, it's just a fact. And ours forever.
Anna, Molly, Ming, Caroline, Helen: the Old Friends.
Since adopting their official name aged eleven, they have seen each other through careers, children, illnesses, marriage, divorce, addiction, fame, fall outs.
But now, Anna - fiercely loved mother and friend, and the Old Friends' glue - is diagnosed with cancer again, and this time, tired of recoveries and relapses, pitying looks and exhausting regimes, she simply says: no more.
As her health declines, the politics of the still lived-in world merge with memories of the past while each Old Friend tries to accept the truth of what is happening: they are losing someone they cannot imagine life without.
Some will fight her decision, some will accept it, but all will rejoice in a life fully lived.
Victoria Redel was born in New York, and attended Dartmouth College and Columbia University. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines including Granta, Harvard Review, Elle and The New York Times, and she currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. Her debut novel, Loverboy, was adapted for a feature film directed by Kevin Bacon. Before Everything is her first novel to be published in the UK.
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- Publication date:
05 Apr 2018
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Redel's prose is artful and insightful ... this is a hugely moving celebration of love, life and friendship. — Eithne Farry, S Magazine
Terminal illness doesn't always bring out the best in people, nor does it preclude other sorrows. To find an honest and sympathetic reflection of both truths is refreshing. — Daily Mail
Bittersweet — Grazia
An extraordinary, touching and tender story about female friendship. — Prima Magazine
A riveting celebration of life and death. — Elle Magazine
Brings to mind Virginia Woolf's The Waves. — BBC Culture
Poetic and insightful ... I have been blown away. — Laura Jane Williams, author of Becoming
An unflinching and affecting look at how one woman's final days change the lives of those around her. — Publishers Weekly