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Cover Image: The Roads Left Behind Us

The Roads Left Behind Us

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Review by

Orlando J, Librarian

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Aj Smith rated a book it was amazing
about 8 hours ago
The Roads Left Behind Us by Kat Jackson
The Roads Left Behind Us
by Kat Jackson
Want to Read
This is a dream of a novel, cementing Kat Jackson's status as one of my favourite writers out there at the moment, and an automatic purchase. I already had "The Roads Left Behind Us" on pre-order from Bella Books when I got a review copy, and I'm so glad I got one: the official release date isn't until March 17th and that is far too far away!

One of the things I love most about Kat Jackson's writing is how she takes flawed, imperfect people and makes them beautiful. There are no heroes or knights in shining armour here, (nor in Begin Again, or Across the Hall, Jackson's other stunning novels), mainly because people have their failings. If you want sweeping traditional romance, grand gestures aplenty, and literal near death situations leading to professions of undying love - you will not find them in this book. However, if you want a beautifully crafted text (and a text within a text!) about two people coming to terms with their own shit as well as how they feel about each other, incredible sexual tension (more about that anon), very hot kisses and sex scenes, excellent humour and mockery, and the most divine figurative language you should buy this book!
Our leading ladies are Dr Kate Jory, an English lecturer, and Callie Lewes who has returned to academia after a decade in the publishing industry, and is now a teaching assistant and PhD student in the English dept at Pennbrook University. While this is an age-gap romance, I like that Callie is thirty-four rather than in her twenties, and in many ways she's more emotionally mature than fifty year old Kate. Like most colleges, Pennbrook doesn't allow relationships between faculty and students, so naturally Callie is deeply smitten with Kate from the off! Personally I fell for the dept head Dr Renee Lawler with her power suits, high heels, and mischievous personality. (She also refers to the neighbouring sociology professors as "wankers", which my English and Psychology studying past finds delightful) So if you feel like writing a follow up book/short story focusing on Renee, I'm here for it Ms Jackson.

I highlighted so many lines and sections in my kindle because I love the flow, precision, and sheer poetry of Kat Jackson's language. I won't put them all here because I think it would somewhat ruin the effect. The one I have chosen is from a piece of writing Callie is editing for 'Sapphisms' magazine; I mentioned the text within a text earlier and this is a glorious metaphor for internal conflict and desire: "But the science of the heart is no different from that of nature: one cannot have growth without rain." For me, not only is it beautifully written but it sums up so much. "The Roads Left Behind Us" doesn't need massive external drama, our day to day lives and falling in love provide enough of that as it is.
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