Author : M. Jonathan Lee
Title : 337
Pages : 340
Publisher : Hideaway Fall
Publication date : November 30, 2020
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
337 follows the life of Samuel Darte whose mother vanished when he was in his teens. It was his brother, Tom who found her wedding ring on the kitchen table along with the note.
While their father pays the price of his mother’s disappearance, Sam learns that his long-estranged Gramma is living out her last days in a nursing home nearby. Keen to learn about what really happened that day and realising the importance of how little time there is, he visits her to finally get the truth. Soon it’ll be too late and the family secrets will be lost forever. Reduced to ashes.
But in a story like this, nothing is as it seems.
| MY THOUGHTS |
M. Jonathan Lee set himself a challenge “to write a novel where the entire story hinges on the last word, which changes your view about many of the characters you’ve travelled through the story with” and boy, did he succeed.
Samuel was a teenager when his mother disappeared. Now, his grandmother is living out her final days in a nursing home nearby. If she knows anything about what happened to Samuel’s mother, her knowledge will soon be lost forever. Samuel decides to visit her, even though it’s been nearly twenty years since he last saw her.
337 isn’t a fast-paced, action-packed mystery. In fact, I’m not even entirely sure what genre this novel would fit into. What I do know is that Samuel’s story is incredibly immersive and despite the slower pace, I thought it was extremely addictive. 337 is brilliantly written, immensely insightful and full of perceptions. Most of all, its focus is on the impact this big event in Samuel’s life had on the family. How come his younger brother seems to be coping so much better? Why did Samuel have no contact with his grandmother?
All the while I was reading with the idea of “nothing is at it seems” deeply imbedded in my brain, which means I was trying to find clues on every page and yet, 337 isn’t so much about solving the mystery of what happened to Samuel’s mother. I assume there are some clues but if there are, I missed them all. I think there are definitely some red herrings. Hours after finishing this book, I’m still trying to figure things out. This is one of those books that you would just like to start again the minute you finish it because your perceptions will have changed.
Families. They come in all shapes and sizes. What looks like a cozy picnic can hide a multitude of sins. How reliable are the memories of your childhood? Nothing is ever as it seems. And neither is 337. Before you even start reading, the book is already unusual. Yellow cover on one side, blue on the other. 337 one one side, Lee on the other. It’s up to you to decide which side of the book you’ll begin with. (Please note the double-ended upside-down opening for this book is available in books ordered in hard copy from UK booksellers only.) Whichever side you go with, you’re in for a treat.
Full of humanity, of complex feelings and relationships, of the past’s effect on the present, 337 makes for quite a special reading experience. Unique, unusual, impressive and definitely Lee’s best novel so far.
My thanks to the publisher for the review copy!
337 is available to buy!