Barbara's Reviews > Dying to Know You

Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers
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Feb 05, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: bullies, depression, death, writing
Read in February, 2012

Improbably, Karl Williamson, a plumber's assistant who struggles with reading and writing, seeks help from his girlfriend Fiorella's favorite novelist. The relationship between Karl and Fiorella is in its early stages, and Fiorella wants to know his innermost thoughts about a wide variety of topics, including love. Karl, in turn, longs to impress her with his ability to express himself. For reasons of his own, the narrator agrees, drawn to Karl's plight and identifying with his dyslexia. Then, too, he is just coming out of his own difficult period, a long bout of depression prompted by the death of his wife of forty years. With his ability to express the feelings of the taciturn Karl through writing, the narrator encourages the romance between the two, and yet there are many problems surrounding their future. Karl continues to mourn his father, who died when he was twelve, and when he creates sculptures, the local thugs ridicule his work and his friends fail to understand the meaning of his work. This is a beautifully written meditation on the power of art, love and friendship to change lives and the emptiness that consumes someone after a loss. The author describes effectively the contrast between the young and the old while also illustrating that the two often have more in common than it might seem on the surface. As the narrator comes to know Karl better, he also learns quite a bit about himself.
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