Book review: Did You Ever Have A Family

BILL CLEGG was a powerhouse literary agent whose crack addiction became both his downfall and the source of his personal renaissance. 

Bill Clegg

Jonathan Cape, £12.99

Having hit rock bottom, his celebrated memoirs on substance abuse, Portrait Of An Addict As A Young Man and Ninety Days, pulled him back to the literary top.

Judging by his debut novel, Did You Ever Have A Family, the top is where Clegg plans to stay.

The story opens with the fatal explosion at a town house the evening before a wedding — four are killed. 

It is not the cause of the freak accident that proves to be the spine of this tale though. Instead, the elaborate, eventful and unconventional lives of the survivors form the focus.

The short chapters, all written from the perspective of individual characters, elegantly detail the storylines as they start intersecting.

Through distinctive and instantly recognisable characters, this novel finds beauty in pain, grief and regret.


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