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Don't Think a Single Thought

Narrated by: Samara Naeymi
Length: 4 hrs and 53 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Summary

1960s New York, and Emma Bowden seems to have it all - a glamorous Manhattan apartment, a loving husband, and a successful writing career. But while Emma and her husband, Jonathan, are on vacation at the Hamptons, a child drowns in the sea, and suspicion falls on Emma. As her picture-perfect life spirals out of control and old wounds resurface, a persistent and monotonous voice in Emma’s head threatens to destroy all that she has worked for....

Taut, elegant and mesmerizing, Don’t Think a Single Thought lays bare a marriage and a woman and examines the decisions - and mistakes - that shape all of our lives.

Diana Cambridge is an award-winning journalist. She has written for many national newspapers and magazines, gives regular writing workshops, and is a writer-in-residence at Sherborne, Dorset. She is Agony Aunt to Writing Magazine. She lives in Bath. Don’t Think a Single Thought is her first novel.

©2019 Diana Cambridge (P)2019 Louise Walters Books

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A sparkling debut

I read an early version of this book and received a free copy of the audiobook, however all opinions are mine and mine alone.

Don't Think a Single Thought is an extraordinary portrayal of depression and what living with it is like. In the opening pages, I thought the narrator, Emma, might be suffering from ME, and I still wonder whether there was an element of physical illness interlinked with her struggles with mental health. Emma is an unreliable narrator at her best. She makes no effort to deliberately deceive the reader in her portrayal of the events, but rather she herself is not always certain how events in her past, immediate or distant, unfolded. It leaves the reader not sure what to trust and what actually happens, which means that the story resonates long after it has come to an end. The ending was not altogether surprising, but there are plenty of twists and turns along the way.

I particularly liked the descriptions of food in the story. At first, they seemed like simply another way to setting the scene - 1960s Manhattan for the most part - but the more we learn about Emma's childhood, the more the interest in food and the tangible awareness of what she's eating makes sense. It's a sure sign that the author truly understands the psychology of her main character and uses many layers and narrative techniques to paint a vivid picture of a gifted, yet troubled woman.

Cambridge brings with New York of the past to life in vivid colours and it serves as a fabulous backdrop for a story that shows mental health can affect us all and that privilege is not a guarantee of happiness.

Samara Naeymi was a perfect choice as a narrator and sounded exactly as I imagined Emma would.

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Glorious!

I was lucky enough to read Diana Cambridge debut novel Don't Think A Single Thought a couple of months ago and it is one of my outstanding reads of the year.

I have to say that the audio version is absolutely glorious and complements the printed edition beautifully.The narration of Samara Naeymi is so completely convincing that she brings Emma Bowden alive and perfectly matches the Emma in my head. She brings out Emma's frustration and almost sensual relationship with clothes, food and beauty in such a way that you can almost feel, taste and lose yourself in them as much as Emma does in her early years - while at the same time, being able to express Emma's decline and loss of interest in all the things she used to enjoy about life too. Outstanding work!

This has made me fall in love with Diana's book all over again, and appreciate the clever way she tells Emma's tragic story in the pages of the book. I cannot praise this book enough.

I highly recommend the audio book, even if you have already read the printed version - if you have not read it, then get to it as soon as you can, because this is going to become a modern classic. Literary fiction at its very best.