Thursday, 4 December 2014

Degrees of Losing by Shan Purcell
Release Date: 17th September 2014
Publisher: Publish Nation
Genres: Contemporary Fiction

What would life be like if you could recall every detail of your entire life? 

Casey has hyperthymesia, a rare condition which means that she has perfect recollection of her past, a burden which imprisons her in her memories. There is no joy in the present, no thought of the future; only the inescapable past playing constantly in her mind. 

Then one day she meets Joe, a man without a past. Or is he? 

Together they find a present, which has the potential to save them both but also forces them to confront a future that challenges their love of life and each other. 

Degrees of Losing is a story about love and loss, memory and time, and what it means to be somebody.

The premise behind this book is a very interesting one. Imagine being able to recall every detail of every day of your life. Whilst initially the idea did intrigue me, once I began reading Degrees of Losing and how this condition affected Casey, I began to realise what a curse it must be. 

The character of Casey is a complex one. She is haunted by every single memory, particularly ones from her childhood. She appears to have little in the way of good, happy memories to recall. In order to be able to cope with the constant running slideshow inside her head, she leads a destructive lifestyle to try to block out all her memories, and that includes drugs, alcohol and sexual encounters with unsuitable men. However, her world is further turned upside down when she meets the very enigmatic Joe Bloggs.  A man without a history. Suffering from Amnesia, Joe is convinced that Casey can save him and help him recover his memories too and find out who he really is. However, Casey soon finds that it is Joe who is in fact saving her. Or, is he?

Degrees of Losing was a fascinating book and I finished it in one sitting! Throughout the story you can almost feel the weight within Casey's heart and how every day is simply a matter of existing and not living. The almost symbiotic relationship between Joe and Casey is one that constantly evolves, but not necessarily for the best. As one of them becomes stronger, then the other morphs into the opposite of what they previously were.  Throughout it all, Casey struggles with the relationship, or lack of, with her parents. Are some wounds so deep that they will never heal?

I'd highly recommend this book! Congrats to Shan Purcell on a brilliant piece of writing.

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About Shan Purcell

Shan Purcell was born in Sydney, and raised in Perth, Western Australia from the age of one. She attended St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School, before studying Psychology at the University of Western Australia. 

Shan moved to North West of the UK in 2002.  She completed a Masters degree in Marketing at the University of Salford in 2005 and has been working in marketing in the education sector since then. Shan, 37, now lives in Hale in Greater Manchester with her partner and her dog, Gizmo.  


One Response so far.

  1. A very helpful review thank you.

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