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Books Editorial

letgomyhand.jpg Let Go My Hand

Edward Docx, Picador

There’s a quote from author Paul Murray (“Tremendously moving, fiercely intelligent and very, very funny”) on the back of Edward Docx’s latest – which is just out in paperback – and I can see why Murray enjoyed this as it’s the kind picaresque tale at which he excels. It’s a road-trip of sorts, with Louis accompanying his dad through France and Germany to sample wine, feast on good food, listen to live music and look at some cave paintings. They meet up with Louis’ two half-brothers when they’re in France and all four of them engage in some rumbustious arguments, which are chiefly about the final destination of their road trip: a clinic in Zurich which helps terminally ill people end their lives, people such as Louis’ father who has motor-neurone disease. It’s a set up that could quite easily have been dunked in too much syrup, but Docx keeps things darkly comic with all four protagonists being vividly drawn and sparking off each other as various family revelations come to the fore. Ultimately this is a poignant and humane work that also packs some big laughs, too.