The Best of Adam Sharp was on my hit list for books publishing February and once again, Graeme Simsion has written an unusual love story (think the ‘one who got away’ but with a difference!).
Publisher: Michael Joseph (9 Feb. 2017)
Can you define your life by a single song?
Adam Sharp – former pianist in a hip Melbourne bar, now a respectable IT consultant in Norwich – can. And it’s ‘You’re Going to Lose that Girl’ . . .
On the cusp of fifty and a happy introvert, Adam is content. He’s the music expert at his local pub-quiz and he and his partner Claire rumble along. Life may not be rock n’ roll, but neither is it easy listening. Yet something has always felt off-key.
And that’s his nostalgia for what might have been, his blazing affair – more than twenty years ago, on the other side of the world – with Angelina Brown, a smart and sexy, strong-willed actress who taught him for the first time, as he played piano and she sang, what it meant to find – and then lose – love. How different might his life be if he hadn’t let her walk away?
Then, out of nowhere, Angelina gets in touch. Adam has sung about second chances, but does he have the courage to believe in them?
The Best of Adam Sharp is about growing old and feeling young, about happy times and sad memories, about staying together and drifting apart, but most of all, it’s about how the music we make together creates the soundtrack that shapes our lives.
First of all I’m going to say the reflections (for the back story in Part One) are smooth – loved the way they tie in with Adam’s current life (for instance he’s at a pub quiz night and a question about the Melbourne Cup takes him right back to being at the race in 1989). Sometimes reflections can be jarring and take you out of the story but not so in The Best of Adam Sharpe. Looking back is important so that we can experience the complications of Adam and Angelina’s passion back in 1989.
22 years later, emails between Adam and Angelina reveal very little about their lives. Feeling energised, Adam changes his lifestyle and with a misunderstanding from Claire giving him a way out, he takes it and finds himself on the way to Burgundy to spend some time with Angelina and her husband Charlie. Adam has always been ‘the third’ person in their marriage and for other reasons as well, it’s time for a showdown. I must admit I had no idea what would happen and I did find this love triangle a bit bizarre at first. There is a purpose … very clever twists!
I wasn’t emotionally invested in either Angelina or Claire but I was in Adam. Analytical of almost everything (which ties in with his IT career), his thought processes drew me in and I found myself agreeing with him. Considerate and understanding (maybe too much so!) I also saw him as vulnerable and naive.
Love the way lyrics/music is used to pack an emotional punch. Music connects Adam to his absent father, his time in Australia and with Claire. At the end of the story, there’s a link to the playlist on Spotify.
The Best of Adam Sharp is a story of the sacrifices we’re prepared to make in relationships (sometimes for selfish gains!). It’s a contradiction of putting yourself first and yet letting everything go. It’s a love story with a difference.
* Please note, there are sex scenes however they do contribute to the story but may shock you!
Connect with Graeme Simsion