‘Funny, moving . . . wise’
Another marvellous review of Never Ending, this time by Pam Norfolk in the Lancaster Guardian. Here it is, in full:
How do you learn to live again when you are haunted by the past? Martyn Bedford explores the raw edges of bereavement and grief in a funny, moving, no-nonsense and yet supremely sensitive novel featuring a teenage girl who cannot come to terms with the death of her brother. Honest to the point of painful, brutal in its confrontations with unbearable loss and wise in its emotional insight, Never Ending is a journey to hell illuminated by the bright promise of redemption.
The family trip to a luxury villa in Kyritos, Greece, at Easter was all set to be the best ever holiday for 15-year-old Shiv Faverdale and her younger brother Declan. Declan – funny, lovable and too smart for his own good – had what her mum calls ‘a big personality.’ He wasn’t just her kid brother; he was her best mate. But Declan died one night during that fateful holiday and four months later Shiv is still tormented by guilt and finding it hard to live with the person she has become. She’s in trouble at school, at home and with the police and no-one – social workers, teachers, counsellors, doctors, therapists – can help.
She has tried hard to smile, be pleasant, be normal but she can only manage about ten minutes of ‘nice’ before reverting to ‘nasty’. Mum is also a mess, Dad is doing best but failing and so Shiv has agreed to spend the summer holidays at the Korsakoff Clinic with five other teens who are undergoing a mysterious and unorthodox therapy. Each of them has suffered a traumatic bereavement and for each of them it is their last chance to learn to live again.
And so, session by session, day by day and night by night, Shiv and her fellow ‘residents’ are forced to confront painful events and slowly but surely discover the road to acceptance. Weaving between events in Greece and at the clinic, Bedford tackles an emotive subject with finesse, subtlety and deep empathy, allowing past and present to merge into a tough but beautiful and beguiling story.