Review of ‘Hesitation Wounds’ by Amy Koppelman

Amy’s assistant got in touch with me through my blog to see if I wanted to receive Hesitation Wounds in exchange for an honest review, and of course, I said yes! The description captured me, and it was quite a short read, so I didn’t mind accepting it into my ever expanding lake of ARCs. This book was an odd one though, I’m not really sure how to feel about it compared to what I was expecting…

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

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‘Hesitation Wounds’ by Amy Koppelman

The acclaimed author of I Smile Back, Amy Koppelman is a novelist of astonishing power, with a sly, dark voice, at once fearless and poetic. In Koppelman’s new novel, Dr. Susanna Seliger is a renowned psychiatrist who specializes in treatment-resistant depression. The most difficult cases come through her door, and Susa is always ready to discuss treatment options, medication, and symptom management but draws the line at engaging with feelings. A strict adherence to protocol keeps her from falling apart.

But her past is made present by one patient, Jim, whose struggles tear open Susa’s hastily stitched up wounds, revealing her latent feeling that she could have helped the people closest to her, especially her adored, cool, talented graffiti-artist brother. Spectacularly original, gorgeously unsettling, HESITATION WOUNDS is a novel that will sink deep and remain—like a persistent scar or a dangerous glow-in-the-dark memory.

My Review

 

Hesitation Wounds is a contemporary novel that tackles mental health issues through the narrative of Susa talking to her brother, who died from committing suicide (from what I understand). Set in America, Hesitation Wounds follows Susa, a psychiatrist specialising in treatment resistant depression, who meets Jim, a patient who takes her straight back to memories of her brother, Dan. The whole book is based on present and past happenings, but all is spoken in the present tense. The past events are told as Susa is talking to Dan, but is cleverly written as if Susa is talking to the reader. Being almost a collection of stories from the past intertwined with elements from the present, there is never nothing happening, which made the book quite fast paced. To be honest, the ending wasn’t highly climactic, in fact, I felt like there could have been some change in pace and have something drastic happen at the end to build the excitement a bit.

 

 

It is difficult to discuss characters, as there are very few who count towards the main story. We have Susa who is the narrator, and Dan, but he is only there in spirit; therefore it is difficult to real get to know his character. Mai becomes an important part of Susa’s life about half way through the book, and she is quite a sweet character, but could maybe do with some more development to add to her likability. The realistic nature of the story made the characters, especially Susa, seem a lot more real than some other books.

To be honest, there wasn’t really a lot to guess throughout the book, because everything that was happening was being narrated to us as stories that had already happened. Tis made it difficult to take guesses, as the book is essentially a collection of stories from the past with snippets of the present. My favourite part of the book were definitely when we got that insight into when Dan was still alive and him and Susa and their friends used to have their little adventures and whatnot, because it felt like it was in the past and we had been transported, even though it was being told in the present, which was a clever writing techniques employ. Despite the fact that the book is written as if it was the reader that Susa was talking to, I didn’t feel a lot of emotional connection to anything that happened throughout the book.

 

This is a difficult book to recommend, because I feel like you would need to enjoy a very specific type of storytelling style to be able to enjoy this book. If you like reading a linear story with a set beginning, middle and end with strong characters, then I don’t suggest you this. If, however, you like to be able to read something slightly off chronology and has strong writing and storytelling aspects, then it is quite possible you will enjoy this. Hesitation Wounds is a quick read of anyone who is looking for something that is not too heavy but still has plenty of content.

My Rating: 3.5 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you like the sound of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

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