The Kindness

The Kindness

by Polly Samson


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It's August 1997 and Julian is lost in a medicated haze of grief. His partner, Julia, has removed all traces of herself from Firdaws, their beautiful riverside home, while all that remains of their three-year-old daughter is a single shoe. Unable to work, Julian succumbs to memories: of Julia, of their daughter's illness, and of his own childhood at Firdaws. As the summer days grow hotter, jealousy taunts him and temptation beckons.

The Kindness is a tale of passion and betrayal; of paradise lost and regained, with Julian and Julia cast out in separate, unforeseeable ways. As Polly Samson's intricate plot gives up its painful secrets, this love story is rearranged and remade—and everything must be reconsidered. The result is an unforgettable story, beautifully told.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781632863904
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 03/22/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,059,494
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Polly Samson is the author of two story collections and two novels, and has contributed lyrics to two Pink Floyd albums, including the chart-topping The Division Bell, and two solo records from David Gilmour. She has been shortlisted for the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award, the V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize, and the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. Samson lives in Brighton.


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The Kindness 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
The Kindness by Polly Samson is one of the worst books I have read this year. The book starts in 1989 with Julia married to Chris. Chris has been away working and Julia (who is twenty-nine) has been having an affair with Julian (who is twenty-one and a working on his Ph. D. in English Literature). When Chris finds out he becomes nasty and abusive. Julia is pregnant and leaves her husband for Julian. Then the book skips to 1997 and Julian is living at Firdaws. Firdaws was his childhood home and he was happy when the current occupants put it up for sale. He loved this home and was delighted to be living in it again (he does not seem to notice that Julia does not want to live in the country and prefers London). Julia had a miscarriage and it took them four years to get pregnant again. They had Mira Eliana. Mira ends up sick with a tumor. She needs cancer treatments and then surgery. During this time the two do not communicate very well (and Julia makes many incorrect assumptions). The book jumps around during this section (flashbacks) telling the story from Julian’s perspective (how they met, their friends, lack of communication during Mira’s illness). Julian is mostly drunk during this section clutching a shoe (Mira’s). About two hundred pages later we get to Julia’s side of the story in 2002. Julia is now living in the United States with her husband (this would be her third) and two children (Mira and Ruth). We get to find out what happened between Julia and Julian (from Julia’s perspective) and the lies she told Julian (her “kindness” is very cruel). Then the book jumps to 2012 for the conclusion with Mira coming to Firdaws. The book does not tell the story in chronological order. It jumps around so you are never quite sure what is going on. The Kindness is very choppy and confusing. I also found it to be very predictable (expected) and sluggish (like slogging through a mud pit). I give The Kindness 1 out of 5 stars (really deserves a zero). I just did not find this book enjoyable (and it really did sound good). I received a complimentary copy of The Kindness from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.