Author: Richard Lumsden
Genre: General Fiction
Format: Paperback 480 pages
Release Date: 24 January 2019
Publisher: Tinder Press
My huge thanks to Caitlin Raynor at Headline and Tinder Press for sending me an advance review copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
I remember my dreams but not where they start.
Further back, I recall some of yesterday and the day before that. Then everything goes into a haze.
Fragments of memories come looming back like red London buses in a pea-souper.
Time plays funny tricks these days.
I wait for the next memory. I wait and I wait.
At 117 years old, Billy Binns is the oldest man in Europe and he knows his time is almost up. But Billy has a final wish: he wants to remember what love feels like one last time. As he looks back at the relationships that have shaped his flawed life – and the events that shaped the century – he recalls a life full of hope, mistakes, heartbreak and, above all, love.
I enjoyed this book far more than I initially thought I would. The concept seemed quite quaint, but it’s a step away from anything I would normally pick up for myself. Having said that though, I’m really glad I did as I thought this was a really heart-warming read.
Billy Binns is an incredibly old gentleman who lives in The Cedars nursing home. He passes his time contemplating when he will take his last breath as he slowly watches residents come and go around him. It sounds fairly morbid, but as he does this he also reflects on his life and the loves he has had during his 117 years.
I found it really interesting reading back to what Billy’s life was like back in the early decades of the 1900’s. Everything was just so different from what it’s like now, their way of life, the clothes they wore, the jobs they kept, all the way down to the language they used is just a life apart from what I know.
The book is told solely as a narrative from Billy and flits back and forth between his memories and his present time in the nursing home. At times it was slightly confusing as to whether I was reading a memory or a time from the nursing home until I was a few sentences into said paragraph as there didn’t seem to be any particular order to whether we were reading in present or past tense. However, I guess you could say this is in fitting with reading a 117 year old’s account, as I’m sure their memory would be very fleeting between the past and present with no necessary rhyme or reason.
I found this a really enjoyable easy read with some really nice moments in it. There are some sad moments, after all, who could live to 117 with only happy memories, however Billy is a character I really warmed to. It made me wonder what I will think about should I hopefully live to a ripe old age and what significant memories I will have of my life.
About the Author
Richard Lumsden has worked as an actor, writer and composer in television, film and theatre for 30 years. As an actor his films include Downhill, Sightseers, Sense & Sensibility and The Darkest Hour, as well as numerous television shows and theatre productions. The Six Loves of Billy Binns is his first novel.
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