With a Zero at its Heart written by Charles Lambert

With-a-Zero-at-its-Heart .

Harper Collins UK / The Friday Project
Publication date May 22 2014

ARC from NetGalley

4 out of 5 stars

24 themed chapters.
Each with 10 numbered paragraphs.
Each paragraph with precisely 120 words.
The sum of a life

I was instantly intrigued and terrified by these opening words of blurb. Intrigued because I wanted to see how a writer would pull off an entire novella in this style and terrified in case it turned into a series of short stories with no interlinking parts or conclusion. I need not have worried. Lambert has constructed a convincing device to tell the reader a semi-autobiographical tale that leaves you feeling complete. Some moments are genuinely, laugh out loud, funny. Other moments succeed in eliciting true compassion. Other moments, again, are achingly familiar.

The angst of getting changed at school.
The fear of pick pockets, criminals, new loves found when travelling.
The joy of finding books.
The sadness at losing a friend, a pet, or a parent.

It is difficult to know which poignant parts to share without spoiling another readers enjoyment.
I will share only my favourite part;

zero

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