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Expectation: The most razor-sharp and heartbreaking novel of the year

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Nathan reached a breaking point and told Hannah that he loved her but he just couldn’t do the IVF treatments any longer. Not much happens for long reams of the book, but there’s no tiredness or ennuito Hope’s prose, it all feels terribly important while you’re reading it. Hope has an understated style that somehow carries and captures the moment. There is no false sentiment or artifice in Expectation.It feels real. It even sometimes feels numinous: Well.You've had everything.The fruits of our labour.The fruits of our activism. Good God we got out there and we have changed the world for you.For our daughters.And what have you done with it?''

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Yes, there's bugger all between thirty and fifty, not just in Chekhov, but in everything else. Perhaps in life. Perhaps this is it - Womanhood. The Wasteland Years." In contrast, Hannah continues to endure round after round of unsuccessful IVF treatments. The process is taking its toll on her physically and emotionally—and, she worries, creating distance between her and her husband Nathan. She is godmother to Cate’s son, but every time they get together, it’s a trigger.

The characters in Anna Hope’s Expectationmight identify. While none of Hope’s three woman protagonists have the eventful past of Florence Welch, they face a similar dilemma. The book opens on an urban pastoral of the three close friends living out the tail end of their youth in London Fields. When we then fast forward to 2010, there’s a definite contracting of freedom and possibility. Life has become smaller, and dominated by young dreams that have turned into obsessions. Lissa aspires to Hollywood but makes do with commercials and community theatre, Hannah wants a child but can’t conceive, Cate has been priced out of London and is living a dull suburban life in the Home Counties.

Expectation: The most razor-sharp and heartbreaking novel of

I love discovering lists about which books to read, as I’m always looking for something new to read. I’m not a reading-monogamist, I like to try new things and often, and I’ll never commit to just one genre. So these lists ensure that my bookshelf is always stuffed full and that I never have to think too hard about where I’ll find my next book-fix. The only issue with a lot of these lists is that they’re always non-fiction books. When they recommend which books women should read or people in their twenties, they consistently mention non-fiction titles, without a novel in sight.

1. Expectation - Anna Hope

Hannah asked Lissa to speak to Nathan.....thinking Lissa could influence Nathan to change his mind about the IVF treatments. While Sarah sleeps, they gather round the kitchen table. They take over. They make Lissa sit and drink wine, or tea. They take Lissa’s face in their hands and cry and kiss her cheeks and tell her how much she looks like her mother, and when they hug Lissa to their chests in their embrace, Lissa knows that they have lived through illnesses and lived through children and lived through no children and that they are a tribe, these women, with their battered bodies and their scars”. Der Originaltitel von "Was wir sind" lautet "Expectation" - und nichts könnte besser zu diesem Roman passen! Es geht nämlich genau darum: Um die Erwartungen, die wir selbst, unsere Partner*innen, unsere Freund*innen, unsere Mitmenschen, die Gesellschaft an uns stellen. Wir sind umgeben von Erwartungshaltungen, manche erfüllen wir, anderen werden wir nicht gerecht und können das auch gar nicht. Anna Hopes Roman, übersetzt von Eva Bonné, greift dieses Erwartungs-Motiv auf ganz eindringliche Weise auf, sie lässt uns Lesende ihren drei Protagonistinnen sehr, sehr nahe kommen und schafft Figuren, mit denen wir uns auf ganz unterschiedliche Weisen identifizieren können.

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