The Other Hand (aka Little Bee for US readers) is a book about the friendship between two women first meet under truly horrendous circumstances and then are reunited two years later. I agree with the summary on its back cover which says something along the lines of 'this is a truly special story so it would be a shame to spoil it by giving away too much.' It would be like telling someone who hadn't seen 'The Crying Game' what happens at the end of the film.
Okay, I'm not tarring all men with the same brush and saying that they all have the sensitivity of Jeremy Clarkson, but again I was surprised me that Chris Cleave was a man, yet was so spot on in writing an intuitive, beautifully crafted and sometimes funny novel from the perspective of a woman. This is a bloke that's definitely in touch with his feminine side. Happily his website has shown me that there's more reading matter to be enjoyed. There's another full length story and two years worth of Guardian columns that have passed me by.
I'll leave you today with just a snippet of this beautiful work. The rusty cogs in my brain have re-visited my school grammar lesson and I think that this fine example of a simile serves as a teeny tiny illustration of just why I loved this story so much.
'It was the month of May and there was warm sunshine dripping through the holes between the clouds. like the sky was a broken blue bowl and a child was trying to keep honey in it.'