A Complex Mourning – #JNGReads


  1. Emerge or cause to emerge from sleep.
  2. Ritual for the dead.
  3. Consequence or aftermath.”

Wake, Anna Hope

I’ve finally finished First Comes Love by Emily Giffin, and I’m on to my next read of the summer. You’ll notice that I didn’t write a detailed review of First Comes Love after finishing it – the reason for that is twofold: I felt that I had already discussed my feelings about it adequately here on the blog a few times, and, more significantly, I didn’t have anything profound to say about it upon closing its cover. I just wasn’t touched at all by it – I didn’t feel inspired, moved or affected – I simply didn’t have much to say. I was quite disappointed by the novel, unfortunately, and I believe that has come across already in the two posts (you can read them here and here) where I mentioned Giffin’s latest work. So, that’s enough of that, on to the next, hopefully exciting and intriguing read…

I’ve been wanting to read Anna Hope’s novel Wake for quite some time now. I was first attracted by the cover, which I believe is simplistically beautiful and heartbreaking.


There’s something about this desperate embrace that tugged at my heart and made me eager to pick up the novel and figure out what it was all about. The title also spoke to me – its juxtaposition beside such a poignant image immediately made me think of a funeral wake. It called to mind images of mourning, heartbreak and depression, and those were emotions I thought it would be interesting to explore in fictional form.

What’s most intriguing about the novel, though, when you first open its pages, is that Hope very quickly plays with and challenges this assumed meaning of her title. She right away presents three varying definitions of the word “wake”, and although I’m only about halfway through the novel, I can see that her intention is to interrogate and explore each one in detail. From the definitions she provides, it is easy to see that the word “wake” has many positive connotations as well, such as emerging from a dream or comfortable slumber. The word can also be interpreted more ambiguously too, in that the implication of “consequence or aftermath” can be both positive and negative, depending on the circumstances. Hope is very smart to begin with these definitions, as I was instantly compelled to consider how each of the main characters (three women who are at once similar and vastly different) might be experiencing all three definitions at once. I am still deciphering this and working out how each woman tackles the notion of “wake” uniquely.

I have to say, I am thoroughly enjoying this novel so far. It is short, just shy of 300 pages, and it moves slowly and methodically, but it is told with quite a lot of attention to detail. Portraits of spaces and characters are painted painstakingly, and I am finding, as I’ve read in reviews of the novel, that the three seemingly separate stories are evolving gently, that facts and characteristics are being added one by one, being pieced together a bit at a time. This style of writing is making me very eager to continue reading, and although I am uncertain where this novel will take me at the moment, I am very much enjoying the ride.

The novel is also very well-written. Hope’s style is simplistic, as I said, but she also presents ideas (some as common as loneliness and restlessness) in words that are unique and unexpected, that add something not previously considered to the reader’s understanding of these emotions. This is something that was sorely missing from the last novel I read, and I am excited to have my preconceived ideas about certain sentiments challenged.

“Ever since she can remember, she has felt it, this hunger for something more.”

Wake, Anna Hope

There’s not much more for me to say about this little novel right now – I’m going to keep barreling through it and then I will be able to speak about how these threads fit together.

Happy Sunday to you all!


Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart


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