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Out of Touch

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  89 ratings  ·  32 reviews
A powerful tale of betrayal and abandonment from a stunning new voice. When a brother and sister receive a letter from the father they haven't seen in twenty years, they must confront long-buried tensions in ways that will change them for ever.

A man hit Ava with his car, a few miles from her bungalow. He brings her flowers in hospital, and offers to do her laundry. He
Hardcover, UK edition, 320 pages
Published April 2nd 2020 by W&N
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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  89 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Nov 26, 2020 rated it liked it
A well written book but wasn't a good read for me. ...more
Mary-Anne Murray
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It is so finely drawn and nuanced, never overblown or overwrought. Agar skilfully invites the reader into the worlds of Ava and Michael, never pushing a point but whispering with almost painfully poignant details at times. This is an incredible debut.
Gem ~ Bee
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Stunning writing and so eloquently explores nuances of families, conflict and love.
Full review to follow
Apr 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Ava and her brother Michael are opposites and out of touch; both received an unexpected and unwelcome letter from their estranged father saying he is dying and would like to meet up with them. What follows is the woven tale of who they are now, their lives, sometimes ordinary, sometimes messy with interjections of their painful pasts.
What I liked was how the author introduced and developed the characters, how their inner thoughts sometimes conflicted with their reactions to situations as well as
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-books
Very moving novel about two siblings - one in north England, one in New York - who receive a letter from their dying father who wants to see them after being estranged for years. It's full of memories of their parents' relationship, their alcoholic mum, the guilt of not being there for her and the resentment of having to look after her... Relationships, children... At times it reminded me of some books by Anne Tyler, the focus on family, the psychology, the details. I found it really moving, and ...more
Meggy Chocolate'n'Waffles
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
A sister. A brother. A father. A letter.
If there are as many families are there are m&ms in their factories, Out of Touch drew me in instantly by the sheer force of its authentic, painful, and constantly-evolving take on relationships.
Let’s rewind a little.

Haleh Agar wins the best first encounter with a main protagonist. When we meet Ava, she’s on the ground, having just been hit by a car. Yet, this is not a dark and grisly scene with body parts bent at weird angles and blood everywhere. No,
Jo Shaw
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Out of Touch by Haleh Agah is an eloquently written look at family dynamics, and how individual family members address both physical and emotional pain within a dysfunctional family. The story begins with a bang as we find Ava lying on the ground after being hit by a car. She had been distracted by a letter she had received from her estranged father who wanted to reconnect with her. The book alternates between Ava’s story, and that of her estranged brother Michael, who had similarly received a l ...more
Matthew Tett
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a stunning first novel, set in the British town of Welton, where the focus is on Ava, and New York - where the story concentrates on Michael, Ava's estranged brother.

Agar alternates the chapters. Ava's start with her being hit by a car - the drive, a teenager called Sam, becomes a friend and helps her see through the dark days that follow, driving her to appointments, taking her to London to see her terminally ill father who hasn't been in her life for years. Ava's life in her dreary bun
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
From the publisher.

A man hit Ava with his car, a few miles from her bungalow. He brings her flowers in hospital, and offers to do her laundry. He also brings her the letter she dropped that night on the road.
In New York, Ava's brother Michael receives the same letter. He thinks about it as he steps out of the shower into his curtainless bedroom. A naked woman stares at him from the apartment across. They both laugh and cover up with their arms.
Brother and sister cannot avoid the letter: their es
Jul 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I would have finished Out of Touch quicker if I hadn’t had such a busy week at work! This beautiful debut is the tale of a brother and sister - Michael, who lives in New York, and Ava, who lives in a town near Sheffield - who lead completely separate lives after Michael decides not to return to the UK after graduating from university in America. A letter from their estranged father who is dying requesting to see them one last time means they may have to face each other again and address the dist ...more
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was torn between giving this books a three or a four star review. This is because by the end of the story I had become involved with it but I found it very slow to get going, and rather disjointed as many reviewers have already said.
The tale is told from two different view points: Ava and her brother Michael. It begins as Ava is involved in a car accident - a sharp reminder of the death of her mother in a different car accident a year previously. Through these connections we are carried along
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Haleh Agar has written a cracking debut novel in Out of Touch. An emotional story that starts with a car accident that brings two people together. A family story where a small family is out of touch with each other, deep-seated historical issues come to the fore as the characters deal with injury, illness, estrangement, friendship from unlikely sources, and life moving on regardless, as it does.
I love the decisions Ava makes in this story, I love the frailties exposed in a seemingly happy but fr
Hannah Persaud
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Brave and honest, this is a compulsive and hard hitting read with tenderness rippled through.

Following the parallel stories of brother and sister Michael and Ava, this novel skilfully depicts their current fractured lives whilst delving back into the causes of their estrangement. As they fail to emotionally connect with the world around them, their mistakes play out in vivid slow motion. This novel is unapologetic for their actions, for their occasional cruelty and for the harm that they inflict
Alex Cadoux
Mar 29, 2020 rated it liked it
So this book tells the story of Ava and Michael siblings who grew up with unconventional and often warring parents. As adults they are estranged from each other and from their father. There mother having died recently. Their father gets in contact when he discovers he is dying and wants to see them.
I felt like the story was a bit disjointed. Ava has her life and her story and Michael has his life and his story and it didn’t particularly flow for me. I would have liked to have had more from them
Fiona Mitchell
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a calm and nuanced story about family estrangement told from two points of view - Ava in England and her brother Michael in America. There is nothing frantic here, the novel unwinds patiently and believably. We see Michael battling mistakes of the past and then making a seemingly unforgivable new one. And after being hit by a car, Ava, though wheelchair-bound, starts to forge a new future for herself, but will there be room in it for the brother who she hasn’t seen for many years? Unders ...more
Lucy Mitchell
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite books of 2020. For a few days I was totally immersed in Ava and Michael’s world. This story of a dysfunctional family was totally captivating and in places so deep. I couldn’t believe this was a debut as it was so good. Both Ava and Michael were brilliant characters. Both flawed and both needing to face their own issues before being able to piece back their family relationship. This was one of the few books where I didn’t question the actions of characters as everything made ...more
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully and carefully written story of two siblings and their journey to reconnect. It’s intimate and honest.... and after reading it I think the advertisement blurb isn’t right at all. It’s better than that...

Their story is not totally thriller family drama of dark secrets (well, I didn’t take it that way) and it’s not extreme either - But the story of their story is perfectly pitched and lovingly almost subtly executed. There are welcome surprises and together it actually makes p
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I found this book really absorbing, so much so that I finished it within a few hours of receiving it! The story explores some complex family dynamics while remaining very readable and enjoyable. I particularly warmed to Ava and I found her relationship with Sam really heart-warming. Without giving too much away, I felt that the author wrapped up the story perfectly and the ending felt very satisfying. 4.5 stars.
Kathryn Bousfield
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather Barnett
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Out of Touch is a thoughtful, funny, honest novel about the messiness of lives in the real world and how our family shapes us, for better or worse. I loved the writing style, which was very much to get out of the way of the story - at no point did an over-written phrase or unnecessary metaphor break the flow. I loved getting to know the characters, who felt real to me, and was I carried along by the story. This is an accomplished, enjoyable read.
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was truly awesome! I was hooked from start to finish. Haleh Agar has created characters rich in depth and personality. You really grow to care deeply for them throughout the book.

It is very easy to relate to the story of family, heartbreak, emotion and complex relationships. I will be telling everyone to read this book!

Can’t wait for more from this author!
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this down. It sunk its tentacles into me from the first sentence. The characters are well developed, complicated and real; the situations they find themselves in awkward and oh so very human. The end was both moving and quietly satisfying. Kudos to Agar, a very fine debut! I shall eagerly await future titles...
Jennifer Harvey
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A tender and honest examination of the conflicts which can pull families apart and the events which bind us even when we are separated. The dual storylines were deftly woven together and the small behavioural observations provide intimate insights into the protaganists and the pain which has shaped them and continues to determine their actions.

An intelligent and fascinating debut.
Jane Lomas
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Haleh Agar paints a perfect picture of a broken family and the road back to reconciliation.

All the characters were heartbreakingly believable and Haleh showed them, warts and all. My heart ached for Ava, trying to keep it all together, and for this dysfunctional family who lost so much.

This book gave me much to think about and I think it will stay with me for a long time.
Mel Shelli
Mar 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
In Haleh Agar’s debut novel, siblings embarks on a journey of self-discovery with surprising results. So much relatable material, I loved every page! It made me reach out and mend a broken relationship- thank you a thousand times. I felt such a strong connection with the characters. This book displays both heart-wrecking and heartwarming sincerity. This author is definitely one to watch.
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and I wasn't expecting to. It is beautifully written but not in a boring/flowery way. It deals with relationships with partners and family wonderfully and I found that I didn't want it to end. ...more
Houri Portyansky
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
OUT OF TOUCH by Haleh Agar is an honest and pleasant look into the life of an imperfect family; a family we can all relate to. I could not put this book down. This is a must read. Add it to your book club lists. You will love it!
susan  Potts
May 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Quite enjoyed this book.
I found it very interesting to see how the characters developed as the story unfurled.
Callum Brookes
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully crafted story that makes us all reflect on family connections. Couldn’t put it down, I was enthralled from page 1. Can’t wait for this authors follow up book.
Nov 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Very good writing.
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