384 pages ~ ★★★★☆ ~ Paperback
I received Nightingale Point in my February Reposed box, since then its been long-listed for the women’s prize for fiction. I hadn’t heard of it before it landed through my door and its probably not one that I would have naturally reached for but I ended up really enjoying it.
Nightingale Point is a tower block in London, its residents are from a wide variety of backgrounds with varying family structures. Its a particularly warm Saturday in 1996 and the start of a May bank holiday weekend. In turn, we’re introduced to each of our five key narrators as they go to work and plan their weekends. Until they’re all caught up in a devastating, life-changing event; we continue to follow them in the aftermath at various intervals up to five years afterwards.
I don’t want to go into details about the event because I didn’t know what it was going in and it made the book that bit more gripping knowing something was coming without knowing what or when but when the event happened I went back and re-read a couple of pages because it just came completely out of left field and changed the dynamic entirely.
Following on with focus more on the characters and the impact on their lives than the event itself, Nightingale Point was on a not very affluent estate so there’s also a focus on the opinions of others and how our characters are judged and treated by people outside of the event.
I really enjoyed each perspective we heard from, not always the case in multi-voice books but from Mary, a grandmother who is also a nurse to sixteen-year-old Tristan I thought all the main characters were well rounded.
With the inspiration coming from a couple of real-world tragedies I thought this was a well written, thought-provoking novel.
The women’s prize shortlist is announced on 22nd April and I’d be excited to see this make this cut.