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After the End

Length: 11 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (389 ratings)

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Summary

The powerful new novel from number one Sunday Times best seller Clare Mackintosh. 

Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. Only now they're facing the most important decision of their lives - and they don't agree. 

As the consequences of an impossible choice threaten to devastate them both, nothing will ever be the same again. 

But anything can happen after the end....

Listen to the end for the author’s note which is read by Clare Mackintosh.

©2019 Clare Mackintosh (P)2019 Hachette Audio UK

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A New Direction, A New Empathy

This is a very different book to what we have seen from Claire Mackintosh in the past. It contains much of her great writing style but is a long way removed from the thriller fayre she has served up so far. This is about two parents faced with the most terrible of circumstances. Their young son has become critically ill and has suffered already through the harshest of surgeries and treatments. The prologue tells us that this is heading towards a climactic courtroom decision which will decide the fate of their son and the first half of this book I found utterly compelling. Mackintosh presents her story through three points of view, the two parents as well as the female lead of the medical team supporting their son. It’s brilliantly done and really tugs at the heartstrings giving a genuinely 3D feel to the plot as it plays out.

Once that central decision point is reached though there is a real change in the book’s nature as Mackintosh explores two alternate realities each based on the court decision going different ways. This was interesting but to me the book lost something because it never gives you a real sense of genuine conclusion because of the split narrative. As it's based on some incredibly tough real-life experiences for the author there is an authentic feel to all this but that was diminished for me by the author not deciding on one course or the other but choosing to explore both.

The narration is very good, and I really enjoyed all three voices, particularly the doctor in charge. In these situations the families are rightly centre stage but this did well to underline the incredible pressures we put on the often young staff in our health services. Her voice was possibly the most human of them all in this very emotional book.

So, especially when you hear the author’s words at the end of the book this is in part extremely compelling. As I said, the first half, while different to her previous books, I found utterly compelling and as good as anything she has done before. It’s a story of fantastic empathy and it had me genuinely captivated. I wasn’t so sold on the second half though, while the writing was still good of course the dual narrative didn’t work anywhere near as well or as smoothly. If there’s a message here it’s as much that there are no easy, black and white answers to these incredibly tough dilemmas and it’s impossible to emerge from them unscathed. So, I think I understand why Claire took the path she did but it didn’t quite work for me.

In short, I’d say it’s worth reading for that first part which is extremely good but be prepared that it might leave you a little deflated with the second half.

17 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Heart rending story.

A heart rending story, that caused me to question how I might act faced with such a devastating scenario.
Listening was sometimes a little confusing when the story divides into the two possible conclusions...

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Moving

What an incredible story. Made even more moving by the authors own words at the end of the book. I feel bad for making any criticism, however I found it very confusing as the chapters switched from one possible outcome to the other. Other than that, I found it to be extremely thought provoking.

2 people found this helpful

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So sorry Clare

I’ve grown to love Clare’s Books ..This a highly tragic very Sad book on ever level and I wish I’d never started it..I read for escapism
This brought me to a low point . Three is so much sadness in the
World . I for one don’t want to read more. The ending annoyed me
A last minute attempt at new happiness..
I will look forward to a return of crates normal style ..Jonathan

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing

Totally unexpected but incredible. Was hooked and will miss Pip now it’s over . Would highly recommend

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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another good one!<br />

another exceptional read/listen by a gifted author!!! I hope she keeps writing books! realistic but also has momentum.

2 people found this helpful

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  • h
  • 19-07-19

deeply moving

this is a moving story , but not without hope. It is impossible to imagine what it must be like to face such decisions. absolute respect to the author for the way she handles it. no doubt influenced by her own experience

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Glad I didn’t give up on the book

I am a huge fan of Clare mackintosh. I pre order most of her books, and did the same with this without reading before anything on the story or background. At the start I wish I had checked the story, I found it heavy and too much at the start, but the way that the story developed was so cleverly done. Then the authors note at the end made me so pleased I had finished this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliantly written

This was so well written. Would definitely recommend. I wasn't sure if I would like it due to the split ending but I loved it.

1 person found this helpful

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5 Stars are not enough

Perfect for book clubs, you won't want
the book will stay with you long after you finished readying it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Stephen de Blanche
  • 16-09-19

Loved the book so much!

Incredible story, beautifully narrated and I honestly could not stop listening. Thank you for sharing your amazing story with us Clare♥️

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  • Deema
  • 28-07-19

Emotional, every emotion

Thought provoking as a mother, wife, friend. Darting through familiar life experiences both felt and observed. A gripping, interesting, enlightening story opening many avenues of food for thought. Loved it!

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  • Apples21
  • 30-06-19

A beautiful & cleverly written story

Twists and turns right til the end.
Sensitive and real.
Thank you for this insightful tale.