Monday, August 1, 2011

Sherry and Narcotics by Nina-Marie Gardner (Review)

Genre:Contemporary Fiction
Publication.Date  May 1st 2011
Published By:  Future Fiction London
WebsiteNina-Marie Gardner

Sherry & Narcotics - Goodreads
My review copy:From the author (thank you!)
Where to get: Barnes and Noble | Amazon      | Book Depository

Mary is in a very fragile place after the death of her father, distance in her relationship with her mother, and a tenuous sobriety which has long slipped away but for her hiding it from her family. It’s under such inauspicious timing, while living in London, that Mary starts up a correspondence with a dreamy poet, but from the very beginning things are far from how they appear.

“Thinking about him on the train makes her giddy, sends a shudder down her spine. Has her craving her drink, a cigarette.
 “Wakes up at nine in panic. First thought is how much did she have to drink the night before? Starts counting them down in her head: glass of Merlot at the bar, bottle of wine in her room, Carlsburg on the train. Not so bad - she feels better.
Things blur, they are running. Jake holds her hand. Both of them breathing hard, coughing - all the cigarettes. Yet she is glad for the wind that presses them close.

     Nina-Marie Gardner’s Sherry & Narcotics is one extraordinary debut novel. The author’s virtuosic storytelling achieves a tone at once passionate and detached, and the result is as curious as it is convincing. The hypnotic narrative captivates the reader from the first sentence to the last paragraph of this beautifully written novel.  It is breathtaking, intense and nerve-wracking. You might want to hold onto your seats.
     Mary Cartwright is a young playwright from United States who, shortly after her father passed away, decided to move to England to have a fresh start on life. Her income consists of money she makes rewriting essays for non-native English speakers. Although it is not the highest-paying job in the world, she likes it, mainly because it gives her freedom and keeps her brain sharp.  She’s free to travel/live anywhere she wants as long as she can access the Internet to upload her work. 

     One day Marry gets a message through My Space from Jake, who claims to be deeply impressed with her plays. They start exchanging emails and text messages, and things quickly get intense between them. They’re fascinated with each other, she likes his poems, he likes her writing. There’s a great chemistry between them and a strong, almost unhealthy pull. Marry doesn’t think twice before deciding to move to Manchester. She wants to be close to Jake, get to know him better, be a part of his life.  But things don’t always work out as we want them to. Sadly, there will be no “happily ever after” in this story, just plenty of heartache, disappointment and pain.  

     The true, almost nightmarish beauty of Sherry & Narcotics is the all too crystal clear mirror it holds up to its readers. Nina-Marie Gardner has written a sublime and clear-as-glass book, a book of almost frightening transparency and openness. Reading this book felt like observing someone else’s life through a spyglass, invading their personal space, eavesdropping, hacking into their brain and shamelessly stealing all the intimate secrets. The strong narrative pull will keep you engrossed in the story until the heartbreaking ending. It’s a thought-provoking masterpiece that will make you wonder about life, love, trust and –inevitably – addiction.  

     Practically from the get-go there’s an overwhelming sense of impending doom. We know that something bad is about to happen. We sense that this story won’t end well, not for Marry, not for anyone. The loneliness, sadness and hopelessness drips from the pages and we find ourselves wishing there was something we could do to fix it. But of course, there’s nothing that can be done. We can only sit and watch, and it’s truly gut-wrenching

     I read this book in a single sitting. I read it ravenously, not wanting to stop turning the pages, not wanting to put it down, and even though I knew it would break my heart, I can totally see myself reading it again. I liked everything about it, the setting (England!), the explicit narrative voice, the original take on the subject of drug abuse and alcoholism, even the broken and hopeless characters. It was painfully real yet magical in a way. This book has a very artsy feeling to it and I can picture it being made into a great movie, or perhaps adapted into an even better play. Reading it reminded me in part of Dreamers (2003) and in part of Catfish (2010).

     Nina-Marie Gardner is a writer of rare intensity and she definitely knows how to elicit a strong emotional response from her readers. Sherry & Narcotics is a book about trying to find your place in life, struggling against devastating addiction, doing your best to keep it together, loving, hoping, losing, and falling… falling…
It’s a powerful book, treasure it.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


therainhouse said...

This isn't something I would read.. but it does sound very intriguing.

aparajita said...

Not a contemporary fan but I suppose I might read it

Lu said...

I also received a copy from the author, and have read it. I am having trouble sharing my thoughts though.

IdentitySeeker said...

Wow! This sounds like an intense read. I haven't heard of this book before, but your review has made me curious about it.

Yvonne @ The Shadow Realm said...

Not something i'd normally read but it sounds like an intense, interesting read

Munnaza said...

This book sounds incredibly emotional, and I love character-based, personal, passionate novels. The fact that it's set in England only adds to the many reasons why I am dying to read this book. (And can I say that I absolutely LOVE the title?) Great review!

Munnaza said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FairyWhispers said...

nice review,

artsy book eh? hmmm

Enbrethiliel said...


I'm kind of reminded of Trainspotting, one of my favourite modern novels. Except that Trainspotting wasn't heartbreaking, as Sherry and Narcotics seems to be.

Jaime Lester said...

If it wasn't for your practically glowing review of this one, I can't say that I would read it. When I know that there will be heartache while reading a book, and intense heartache at that, I am incredibly hesitant to read it. I might have to compromise on this though. As much as you loved it, I can't see it being a bad thing.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...