Posted 20 hours ago

Fray: The haunting and mysterious new literary suspense novel of 2023, for fans of bestsellers THE LONEY and PINE

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This tale is beautifully rendered with a distinct style that brings the full range of emotions to the surface. An abandoned cottage in the remote wilderness, filled with thousands of confusing, terrifying handwritten notes. And it was a bit grey, a bit wet, but normal – not terrible weather conditions, and it wasn't forecast to be either. The Scottish highlands play their part perfectly and help create an equally intense but beautiful backdrop that brings despair and hope in equal measure.

I highly recommend this cinematic and emotional whirlwind as a gift for family, friends or a personal treat! A twisting tale of grief and mental health that sucked me in from the start and swept me along with it. Yes, where I live, just over the water from Dundee, I can run up the hill at the back of the house and within five minutes I'm on to farm tracks and paths.Anxiety is an interesting word because, obviously, everybody has some anxiety and that's a normal reaction to certain situations. A deeply haunting book … The Scottish Highlands have never felt more wild or alive than they do in this … immensely important novel. Breathing in enough to be given life, softening the pain a little, finding some colour in all the grinding grey.

I was going up this mountain route – it's not a race that's run anymore, but there used to be a vertical kilometre race out of Kinlochleven, about 5km along but 1km straight up [in elevation gain]. This author knows how to use language to great effect to create a feeling, to create an atmosphere to create a real intensity, The short sharp sentences, next to the long rambling ones create a stream of consciousness so you feel like you’re in the narrators head. But then contrasting that with a good running experience, where you might be breathing hard, but you're in control and you're connected to your body and you feel really composed. I always think an 800m race feels like a great idea until about 500m, then you are hanging on for dear life.It’s a spiral into the depths of grief and guilt, featuring a break from reality that culminates in a final sequence that is both surreal and meaningful. So the last couple of years I’ve actually run without a watch, just getting out and enjoying it and that’s actually been fantastic.

But I think if, if at any point in our lives, we introduce some running to it, that's going to make things better. The problem is that the same word also attached to people who may have extreme anxiety conditions that will totally derail their lives. There is a pace to this which the narrator (the son) can accelerate and decelerate to keep the reader guessing and turning the pages. The cottage floor and the few pieces of furniture are covered in scraps of paper in what he takes to be his father’s handwriting. On a whim, perhaps due to some sort of breakdown, his father walks out after the death of his wife, and disappears.DNF - this started with a lot of potential and I genuinely didn't mind the experimental format, but the level of repetition in each of the segments made this a huge challenge to read- particularly with the main perspective. There's a wonderful community waiting to welcome you to parkrun or to clubs or whatever it might be. and I think I'm not the right audience for it; I simply didn't have patience for the extreme (and intentional) repetitiveness of the prose. Frustrating and irritating when you’re circling back round the exact same idea for the tenth time 40 pages later.

Hearst UK is the trading name of the National Magazine Company Ltd, 30 Panton Street, Leicester Square, London, SW1Y 4AJ.

I just about stuck with it, and was ultimately disappointed by it, though by its experimental nature I can respect Carse's boldness. When I sat down and read the final 100 pages in one sitting, I found I connected more with the rhythm and the cadences of the story. I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up Fray at Brome Lake Books; it seems to be a mystery with an appealing cover, and an Alan Cumming blurb the conjures up Masterpiece Classics. I was a decent club runner but nothing out of the ordinary, but I loved it and with a few breaks I’ve continued ever since. During an anxiety experience, or a panic attack, there’s that feeling of not being able to catch your breath or feeling like you're choking and you just can't control it.

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