Mend the Living Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Simon Limbeau is in search of that perfect wave. He knows it is out there, and perhaps this will be the day that he finds it, the forecast seems to indicate that it will be good. Rising just before 6 am, he ventures into the freezing morning to climb in the van with his friends to hit the beach. It is a journey Simon has undertaken hundreds of times. Waves were found, ridden and conquered and they pile back in the van trying to warm up. Chris turns the key in the van and begins the return journey; all their lives were just about to change for ever.

Simon was not wearing a seatbelt and as Chris dropped off to sleep, the van drifted to the left until it hit the pole. All three lads were rushed to hospital following the accident and parents were contacted. Marianne, Simon’s mum, gets to the hospital. Looking shell shocked, she is ushered into a meeting with the doctor. Simon’s condition is serious, very serious indeed.

So begins the sensitive telling of a story that is a parent’s worst dilemma. It is a short book, often captivating, always emotional, but occasionally dips a little to heavily into technical jargon. However, De Kerangal’s sparse prose is what carries this story, making what is an intensely charged read, a thing of beauty still. It is a sad, touching story, sensitively told.

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