Books involving parents, and the (potential) loss of a child are some of the most heart-wrenching stories to be found. This is most likely to be because so many of the readers are parents themselves and therefore the connection and empathy we feel is tremendous (I feel a thesis in there somewhere!)
In Clare Mackintosh’s powerful novel, ‘After the End,’ Max and Pip are face quite literally with a ‘life-or-death’ decision that they must make on behalf of their young son Dylan.
Max and Pip are one of the strongest couple’s you might come across, but when Dylan is diagnosed with an inoperable and terminal brain tumour, their lives as they know them are quite literally torn apart. After Dylan experiences a catastrophic brain bleed, Max and Pip must make a terrible decision on behalf of their young son; either they allow treatment that will extend Dylan’s life in his current condition for longer, or refuse the treatment which will enable the child to slip away peacefully, without intervention.
What happens when the two parents disagree as to what they must do? Inevitably their relationship will flounder and in part two of the book the reader experiences a ‘sliding door’ scenario, where the outcome of both decisions based on Max and Pip (with some limited input from the Doctor involved) is seen through to its logical conclusion. Interesting!
I love a good meaty topic in a book, and ‘After the End’ is certainly that!