Man Booker Nominees Review: Mend The Living by Maylis De Kerangal


Imagine This: Your heart. Beating out of your chest. Slowly being carried into someone else’s body.

All your life, you’ve loved to surf, loved to welcome adrenalin-junkie fun. Except one day you go out to surf with friends to catch a wave. And you never return alive.

Your body. Your parents have to decide if you would have wanted them to loan out your organs to people who’ll be needing them badly when you never talked of this event, because well, you’re a nineteen year old, and who in their right adult minds have even contemplated that possibility?

Meanwhile, somewhere on the other side of the country, someone needs a heart. 

Someone who’s led a risk-free life, who’s not caught a wave before or might not even have seen one needs your heart to live a few more years.

Simon Limbeau’s heart under discussion here.


Well, I think if you’ve not read this book go get it because when I start talking lengthily about it I might be showering spittle onto your face as well.

Great book! Amazing storyline! A heart transplant surgery captured so dramatically with excellence you shouldn’t find on an author who’s up to their sophomore novel, but Maylis De Kerangal gets this. A star to the storyline.—★

Literary Fiction at its finest. It’s one of the reasons I love this genre. Every author attacks it with their own style, deviating against norms, creating new trends, setting paces for new writers to follow. Again, Maylis De Kerangal gets this! Her writing is nothing short of beautiful, and shines with literary excellence.—★★

You’ll love the cast of characters in this. Surprisingly, the main character you’ll find, is not a person, but a heart! How genius! So, yes, you’d be awed by the innings and outings of Simon Limbeau’s heart. But of course, you’d find Simon Limbeau a bit of a tragic hero. You’ll love his mother, Marianne and his father Sean, watching them break down is like watching a beautiful flower being disintegrated petal by petal. There’s also Juliette, Simon Limbeau’s girlfriend. There’s Thomas Remige, the doctor who can sing his lungs out and has a thing for goldfinches. You’ll love Cordelia Owl, the nurse who is waiting patiently for her on-and-off ex to contact after a ‘last night’s incident’. There’s also Renol, something off the ICU doctor who takes care of bodies in a coma. Claire, the woman in need of Simon Limbeau’s heart would be much loved too. And the intriguing Harfangs who make up that dynasty with an awesome pedigree in medicine. A star to all these characters. How Maylis captured all their lives beautifully in relation to Simon Limbeau’s heart! So many other characters I can’t mention.—★★★

Suspense. I never thought heart-transplant surgeries could be portrayed to read like some kind of thriller.—★★★★

I feel for Kenragal, I really do. It’s easy to write a well-researched book and have your audience feel you’re rather throwing your knowledge in medicine at them rather than weaving it beautifully into your story. So Kerangal deserves a star for a well-researched novel that bleeds with information that isn’t forced down the throat of the reader.—★★★★★

My rating is definitely a five out of five stars for this long-listed Man Booker International Prize title. Surprised it didn’t win. But grateful it went on that list so I find out how wonderful Maylis De Kerangal writes, and how I can naturally be head of her fan club! Get this title on Amazon

I recommend this book to anyone who wants a title that reads like a thriller but it isn’t a thriller. If you’ve become a literature snob like I have become and can’t stand anything that’s not Literary Fiction and excellent, you’d find this book hard to hate! It’s Heart-Transplant Surgery made enjoyable, what more are you waiting for to get it?

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads and Amazon.

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