Anne’s life is rushing to an unexpected and untimely end. But her diagnosis of terminal cancer isn’t just a shock for her – and for her daughter Sigrid and granddaughter Mia – it shines a spotlight onto their fractured and uncomfortable relationships.
On a spur-of-the moment trip to France the three generations of women reveal harboured secrets, long-held frustrations and suppressed desires, and learn humbling and heart-warming lessons about how life should be lived when death is so close.
With all of Helga Flatland’s trademark humour, razor-sharp wit and deep empathy, One Last Time examines the great dramas that can be found in ordinary lives, asks the questions that matter to us all – and ultimately celebrates the resilience of the human spirit, in an exquisite, enchantingly beautiful novel that urges us to treasure and rethink … everything.
Good day dear reader, today I’m sharing with you another upcoming book release that blew me away, and of course, it’s a Friday so I need to add a first line… Right?
One Last Time is the sixth novel from Helga Flatland, but only the second of her books published by Orenda Books. This Norwegian slice of moving, domestic literature is translated by Rosie Hedger, the writer and translator partnership is a dream, but more about that later. Where can you get your copy of One Last Time? Well, the paperback is not due to be published until June 24th BUT the eBook is out in 8 DAYS *screams with delight that people will be reading this book!* You can pre-order and purchase directly from Orenda Books themselves, you could even grab yourself a #TeamOrenda mug to enjoy you tea in as you read. Check the NEW website here.
I’d also like to thank Karen for the generosity and for sending me a glorious proof copy of this equally glorious and heart hitting novel.
I bring the blade of the axe down on her neck. Drop the head into one bucket, the body into another, hear the way her claws scrape slightly against the plastic before silence falls once again.– One Last Time, Helga Flatland, translated by Rosie Hedger
One Last Time begins with the air of death, how swift it can be, how we become separate from our bodies when death comes knocking and how, even with a struggle, we will finally succumb. This is the perfect first line for the novel, it creates an immediate opening for two of the main themes which are echoed throughout; life and death – filled with it one minute and a matter of seconds that can all change. The first line metaphorically reflects the life of Anne, our protagonist, who is diagnosed with a terminal cancer and one that has her quickly approaching death.
What I absolutely adore about Helga’s writing, is that she put family relationships underneath the microscope. We see those frayed ties and the disconnected fractures that are present but we also begin to see, in the case of Anne, Sigrid and Mia how this tragic life event heals the threads of their relationships. Helga approaches the themes of death, terminal illness, dysfunctional relationships and loss with such sympathy and emotion. I couldn’t help but coming face to face with aspects of my own grief within the pages of One Last Time. Sprinkled with warmth and light-heartedness, One Last Time is an important novel about connection and healing, one that will have you appreciating every single day like it was your last while celebrating the life you have already lived. One Last Time is fictional novel that felt quite personal to me, from the family conflict to the making up for the time you’ve already lost being frustrated, mad, upset at one another. Helga, again, has written an exceptionally profound novel that will lull you in and captivate you amongst the lives of the characters amongst these pages.
Okay, let’s talk about Rosie, the translator! Rosie has captured all the emotions Helga has written into the lives of our characters story. The mother – daughter dysfunctional relationship, the shock value of revealed secrets and more importantly the warm love between the three generations of women. Helga wrote this beautiful story, but Rosie allowed us to read it while not straying from the impact that was intended. As I said, what a dream literary partnership.
So, there you have it, my thoughts and feelings concerning One Last Time, just do yourself a favor and add it to your TBR pile, thank me later!