Crucial to the novel's plot is the arrival, by chance, in the Sheffield bookshop of Jamie's former girlfriend, Nike Thea Joli Black
Similarly underdone are Jamie's long suffering London friend, Sam, and Joe, father of the family. The second part of the novel is brisk and effective, comprising letters from Jamie to his father that are never answered. In one of them he asks ''Had it ever occurred to you that what you're doing is far worse than anything I did? I didn't act out of hate, but that's the only thing driving you.''
While Jamie consoles himself with playing electronic games and building with Lego (''I wish you could see how strong I've made my castle'') as he had in adolescence with Kit, Emma constructs games of her own. One of them is ''The Harrowing of Hell'', in which ''players aim to help Jesus rescue as many lost souls as possible''. This is one of Wait's deftly intelligent small touches. Her story telling problems are on a larger scale.
Wait is in part the creature of marketing decisions. Her book sometimes feels like Young Adult fiction, but is too dark to fit the category.
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Early on she signals that Kit has committed suicide some years before. Days after his funeral, Jamie left the family, cut off all contact, and fetched up in the history section of Sudbury's bookshop in rainy Sheffield.
Picador. 311pp. $27.99. Born in Oxfordshire in 1988, Rebecca Wait read English at Oxford, worked as a teachers' assistant and entranced Picador to give her that deal on the basis of the manuscript of what has become The View on the Way Down. The publisher has filled the covers and the first inside pages with puffs and then crossed its fingers.
Alice Brown. She has her new husband in attendance. Seeing Jamie for the first time in years, she is prompted to interfere, and rings his parents to give away his bolt hole. The trouble is that the notion of even a long ago love affair between them is hard to credit.
Emma is a miserable teenager, binge eating and seeking solace in her school's Christian Union. She is a magnet for the viciousness of ''the cool group'', a clique of teenage girls who seem motivated chiefly by the desire to exclude her from it.
What she offers is the story of a fractured family. Stolid Rose (reduced to a domestic cipher) and husband Air Max 2015 Mens Blue
Joe, a suburban lawyer, have three children Kit, Jamie and Emma. What becomes of the five of them is the story in which Wait seeks to engross us.
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THE VIEW ON THE WAY DOWN. By Rebecca Wait.
The last meeting of the brothers is one of the strongest scenes in The View on the Way Down. More generally, though, it belongs to that burgeoning cluster of novels that are built for book clubs, that seem to have more to do with social work than fiction.
Author dives into dark family drama
That hatred was generated by the fact Jamie, but not his parents, was present when one of Kit's suicide attempts was eventually successful.
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