Title: The Wreckage
Author: Robin Morgan-Bentley
Format reviewed: audiobook
Length: 8 hrs and 48 mins
Narrators: Emilia Fox, Jack Hawkins, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
Date of release: 6 February 2020
Things will never be the same again….
Ben is driving on the motorway, on his usual commute to the school where he works.
A day like any other, except for Adam, who in a last despairing act jumps in front of Ben’s car, and in killing himself, turns the teacher’s world upside down.
Wracked with guilt and desperate to clear his conscience, Ben develops a friendship with Alice, Adam’s widow, and her seven-year-old son, Max.
But as he tries to escape the trauma of the wreckage, could Ben go too far in trying to make amends?
Gripping and sinister, The Wreckage is guaranteed to keep you up all night….
Some novels were written to become the best audiobooks. The Wreckage is one of them. Rarely had a story pulled me in so quickly, so intensely, that I remember with vivid precision where I was, what time it was, when I began listening.
Three narrators, three protagonists, one collision of lives, in more ways than one.
Right from the start, you get the feeling of what the book is going to be like.
Ben’s account of the accident that has changed his life is chillingly detailed, from the sound of the rain to the squeal of wheels. Practical facts given with a voice filled with emotion.
Alice, wife and mother, wakes up to an empty bed. From a sleepy voice to a panicked frenzy, she drew me into her life with force.
What follows is a disturbing tale of grief and guilt. From the understandable feeling of emptiness to a chilling obsession, the narrators had me drinking their words like the sweetest tea. No respite given, none needed. The Wreckage looks closely at relationships – how people bond, why they do, how a relationship affects one person. What trauma does to someone.
When Ben runs over Alice’s husband, he has no idea this dreadful event is going to lead him to the worst. The author, Robin Morgan-Bentley, brilliantly explores mental health and trauma. Ben goes through several stages and has trouble living with what’s happened. Nightmares, fear, and culpability are hanging heavily on him. In an attempt to make sense of everything, he meets the wife of the man who jumped in front of his car. Alice, after our first encounter, doesn’t sound like your typical grieving wife. I found her extremely cold, yet I was entranced by her behaviour. Ben I was worried about. In his hope to make things better, or at least help as much as he can, I watched him fall deeper and deeper in a sick dance with Alice.
Neither character felt likeable, but they didn’t need to be for me to keep listening. I needed to get to the bottom of it. I was privy to the aftermath of a tragedy, the thoughts people have behind closed doors, and what they hold on to when their world is shattered. My desire to understand, mixed with an impressive work from the narrators, led me to an unexpected ending. Not in the big and shocking headline-worthy sense of the way. No, the twist was sad, terrifying, and so terribly human.
I recommend The Wreckage to readers who are ready for a slow burner that steers clear of melodrama and introduces the reader to flawed and real characters.
You can find the book here
I would like to thank the wonderful Alex at Trapeze for inviting me to listen and review this novel. This review is my unbiased opinion.
Review previously posted on February 27th.