Asher, Jane The Question

ISBN 13: 9780007349623

The Question

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9780007349623: The Question

Following the great success of Jane Asher’s debut novel The Longing, her second novel is a compassionate, compelling and beautifully written study of the terrible effect of jealousy on a woman’s life.

John and Eleanor Hamilton are middle-aged, wealthy, and settled in their comfortable life in Hampshire and London. John didn’t want children, so instead Eleanor used her energies to help run the company and get involved in the local community. So imagine her horror when, one day, she discovers that her husband has led a secret life for twenty years, in the shape of a mistress and a nineteen-year-old daughter – the daughter that she herself never had.

The jealousy that Eleanor feels is all-consuming, driving her to limits she would never have thought possible. Then John, badly injured in a car crash, becomes a victim of PVS – Persistent Vegetative State. Although he is capable of communicating by the tiniest of signals, he has no quality of life.

And so arises the ultimate question – and the ultimate opportunity for revenge. Should he live, or should he die? John’s fate hangs in the balance as the three women he deceived and betrayed decide upon the answer.

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Review:

Anyone expecting sweet-as-saccharin writing from actress and cake-baker extrordinaire Jane Asher will be sorely disappointed in The Question--a stylish, acerbic novel which treats its topics of betrayal and revenge with a caustic wit that is at once aggressive and intense in its execution. The glacial and detached Eleanor--late fifties, well preserved, hitherto uncomplicated and affluent lifestyle bolstered by the successful career of her husband, childless but content--discovers that her 30-year marriage has been a sham, and as the full impact of John's transgression forces her into action, Eleanor turns into a wilful and calculating shrew hell-bent on revenge. There is never any doubt that Eleanor will make her perfidious husband pay for his misconduct, but Asher's canny treatment of a familiar subject pushes the story to its limit, making it a surprisingly classy and pleasingly unpredictable study of a woman who all but loses her sense of reason to the green eyed monster.

The Question certainly cannot to be compared with the cosy aga-sagas that perhaps one would automatically associate with Asher's familiar public persona. Instead, be prepared to be ambushed by the sharp writing, a plot that tumbles tartly into overdrive from the very first line, and the dramatic twist that shapes the ultimate, pungent and shockingly cruel ending.--Susan Harrison

Review:

Acclaim for The Longing:

‘If Jane Asher were not already famous, this book would make her so… here, at last, is a star who can write’
Daily Express

‘Her book is topical, emotion-charged… grips from the first page… Asher brilliantly lays bare the torment endured by the unintentionally childless’
Val Hennessy, Daily Mail

‘Thought-provoking, polished and professional’
The Times

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