Thursday, 18 August 2016

Book Review: The Blackbird Singularity by Matt Wilven

Vince stops taking his lithium when he finds out about his partner's pregnancy. As withdrawal kicks in, he can barely hold his life together.
Somewhere between making friends with a blackbird in the back garden and hearing his dead son's footsteps in the attic, he finds himself lost and alone, journeying through a world of chaos and darkness, completely unaware of the miracle that lies ahead.
Thank you to Lucy at Legend Press for the ARC of this fabulous, thought provoking novel.

The story is divided into the three trimesters of Lyd's new pregnancy. Vince had been diagnosed with Bipolar after the devastating loss of his and partner Lyd's first child. Vince had suffered an intense breakdown, and is held together by both Lyd and lithium.

The Blackbird Singularity is an intense but very readable story. I was drawn into Vince's mind from the very beginning, and his determination to escape the numbing of his drugs, Unmonitored withdrawal from medication is not advised as the effects can be traumatic in themselves. Vince is terrified Lyd will find out - her condition for staying in the relationship was that Vince continues with his medication.

Vince builds a 'relationship' with a visiting blackbird, and becomes obsessed with it. His mind 'clears' as the comfort of the lithium wears off, though to others around him his behaviour is more erratic. We get a colourful insight into the mind of an ordinary man trying to make some sense of the insanity he is going through.

There's some rather mind-blowing scientific paragraphs at the beginning of each chapter; some are beautiful descriptions of nature but some lost me, with my non-scientific brain. I'm still no wiser as to what an event horizon is, or even what singularity means. But Vince's story is compelling as we watch him deal with Lyd's new pregnancy. It's heartbreaking in parts; the scratching in the attic had me holding my breath.

The Blackbird Singularity was published on 1st August - this review is a little late due to my own foray into a depressive episode, which has perhaps made this book resonate with me. I think anyone who has suffered loss or depression or has known someone who has - and lets face it, most of us have experienced both in some form - will find this book utterly compelling.

You can buy the book here (other retailers are available!), and you can find out more about the author here

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