Cover Image: Nightingale Point

Nightingale Point

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Member Reviews

This book was absolutely brilliant. I loved how all the neighbours were linked in some way and the love of the community really touched my heart. I do feel like this book should have come with a trigger warning though as it really gave me Grenfell Tower vibes.
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This books follows a range of characters living in a London tower block. Elvis has special needs but his innocent outlook on life is touching and often funny. Brothers Malachi and Tristan are chalk and cheese but have an interesting relationship, and Malachi is pining for the girl upstairs. Mary looks after the two boys but has problems of her own, wrestling with feelings of guilt.

About halfway through the book tragedy strikes...

I loved meeting these interesting characters - particularly Elvis - and I enjoyed the build up to the incident, as we get a picture of life on the estate and the different people within it. However I found it harder to engage after the major incident and I found it hard to sustain my initial interest in the characters. 

However I think the book told a really interesting story with some believable and relatable characters, and I look forward to reading more from this author.
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One of my favourite books of the year.
Such a sad but uplifting book.
A plane crashes into Nightingale Point, a tower block in Morpeth Estate, London - the story follows the lives of some of the people who lived there.
Malachi and Tristan Roberts are brothers who are looked after by Mary, a neighbour.  Mary is a married nurse whose husband is an impersonator and travels most of the time. He has always been unfaithful but until recently Mary hasn’t.
Malachi has ambitions but Tristan is a bit of a tearaway who calls a neighbour Elvis ‘ a retard’ and spits on him. Despite this Elvis saves him after the plane crash.
Elvis has special needs and is living for the first time on his own.  After the crash they become unlikely friends.
Malachi is in love with Pamela who lives in the flats with her father who keeps her locked in ‘ to keep her away from Malachi.’
Written from different points of view the storyline works well to draw the reader into the lives of all those affected by the plane crash.
I loved this book. 5 Stars.
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I have been focusing on reading books by POC recently so picked this one up. This is a debut novel and is on the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction long list. 

The story is about a working-class community on a housing estate in London. Nightingale Point and she follows the inhabitants through a major tragedy. The characters were relatable and interesting.  Highly recommend.
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Nightingale Point is told from the points of view of several characters, mainly Elvis, Tristan, Malachi and Mary.  They all live in the fictional London tower block Nightingale Point, and when a plane crashes into the building, their lives are turned around.  In the build up to the tragedy, each character describes what they are doing and then how they react to the explosion.  The rest of the book tells the story of the lasting impact on people’s lives after losing their homes.  The book is a tribute to those affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2016, and the Bijlmer crash in Amsterdam in 1992.

Luan Goldie has created distinct character voices who are so real on the pages that I felt like I was really seeing the story through their eyes.  The narrative moves between characters in the first part of the book up to the explosion, then skips back a few moments in time to the next character.  At first it seemed like a lot of build up, but I thought it actually worked well and created some tense moments at the end of each chapter.  After the explosion there is a lot of powerful description that really captures the mood and atmosphere.  It portrays all the terror, confusion, horror initial trauma, and bewilderment.  The shock of the characters is emphasised by showing how they perceived the aftermath, often not knowing what has happened, and other people’s reactions demonstrate how they appeared.  The description of the setting of Nightingale Point and the local area was so well written I felt part of the story as I read the book.  I found the friendship that developed between Elvis and Tristan particularly touching, and without giving anything away, the ending is poignant.
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Take a normal inner London tower block and it’s myriad of residents, throw in a tragic accident and Gold gave us a fantastic and at times harrowing novel.

Gold gave us their before and after stories, set the scene before throwing their lives into disorder and despair.

I loved that she told their story in their own voices, able to really delve deep into their innermost thoughts, and anguish.

Malachy, elder brother of Tristan, his role to be Mum and Dad whilst he tried to juggle university and their precarious finances. Such a responsibility you could almost feel and see the weight of the world resting on his shoulders. His over protectiveness was his undoing in the aftermath as he struggled with his inability to control events, to find a way forward.

Tristan, younger brother, the wide boy in with the wrong crowd, the accident a wake up call, a re-evaluation of life. Gold gave him a cheekiness and arrogance before the thump and reality of real life, of dealing with medical issues and an appreciation of those in his life.

Mary, mother, grandmother, protector of Malachy and Tristan, a largely absent husband and a faith so deep rooted it frustrated me. Yet you knew Mary had to find a new way to accept her faith, and Gold excelled in her descriptions of Mary’s anguish.

Pamela’s story was heartbreaking, a young girl, daughter of an over protective father who denied her a normal life. Her role in the novel so different from the other characters, as she acted almost like a catalyst for present and future events.

Elvis, for me was the most endearing, his story poignant full of bravery, prejudice, of a struggle to live a normal life. The accident was somehow a blessing, even if it was traumatic. I loved how Gold showed a young man with difficulties triumph in a confusing and complicated world.

The characters were all so different yet it was if Gold had put them all into a blender as the once tenacious connections became deeper, more meaningful, the already existing connections severed only to be brought back together in a different form.

Gold brilliantly showed how tragedy affects everyone no matter what their socio-economic background. The tragedy itself graphic in detail, devastating to read but so necessary to provide the impact, the horror Gold wished to convey.

Gold left no stone unturned as she wrote of the inadequacy of local authorities, and social services, overwhelmed, unable to cope, as they let down their service users again and again.

It was hard not compare with the recent Grenfell tragedy, but Gold never sensationalised, just told her story, a story that was not only a social commentary but a hard hitting, tragic but fantastic story.
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The characters will warm and break your heart. The story is well paced, the world so familiar you can walk down your street and see it. The events are so relatable to the culture we currently live in that it's a tough read at times, but so worth it.
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"Nightingale Point" begins panoramically, surveying the various residents of a London tower block over a hot bank holiday weekend. We meet Mary, a nurse from the Phillippines who has lived in the block for decades and who acts as a surrogate mother to Tristan and Malachi, parentless brothers trying to look after themselves; Pamela, Malachi's girlfriend a few floors up under the thumb of a controlling father, and Elvis who is delighted to have his own flat in the block under a care in the community scheme. The year is 1996 and Luan Goldie successfully evokes both the time and the place until you feel you know all the characters, described with affection and often humour, and the circumscribed world in which they live. This world is destroyed by an event which changes the lives of every character and Goldie describes their onward course with great empathy and controlled rage at a society which places a lesser value on the lives of the poor. One can't but help to think of Grenfall when reading "Nightingale Point", but as Goldie makes clear in her afterword such disasters have happened before and have played out in similar ways.
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You will know the old adage is 'Don't judge a book by it's cover..' 

Although I never. It is definitely part of what drew me in wanting to read this book.

Once I read the blurb I was even more interested.

The story is from multiple POV's and this technique now quite common works with some stories better than others, on this it is definitely a plus. 

It is about several residents living together in a multi-storey flat, who go about their own lives as normal until one day a tragedy strikes.

This affects these tenants in a number of different ways, with some even losing their lives.

Reading this book it covers before, during and after the accident, and how the residents get on with their lives.  

With respect to the incident at Grenfell.

With re
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A great debut. Thank you very much for the chance to read this novel. I enjoyed both the story and the characters presented, it was a gripping, absorbing, read and one that I would happily recommend to others.
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Wow, this packed a punch. 
I came across this book so unexpectedly and when I read the synopsis, it just called out to me. I love character driven stories and this was just it. 
Each character was written with such depth and life, in a way that makes you feel for each of them and their day to day struggles.
I really loved all of them and connected in some way or other to each but Elvis was by far, my absolute favourite. 
He was portrayed so beautifully and in the most heartwarming light that all I wanted was to get inside Nightingale Point and just hug him. Hug and never let go.
A worthy read.
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An ordinary day changed by an extraordinary event.

This is an impressive debut novel from the winner of the Costa Short Story Award. The book is set in a high-rise estate - a background the author is obviously familiar with, as the writing and dialogue are definitely authentic.

The story revolves around people living in the flats and all connected in some way.  It is a depressing picture. The lifts don’t work, and the building has many problems that the long-suffering inhabitants have to endure. There are unemployment and poverty, unbearable noise, drug-taking, drinking and bullying. They also communicate with a language all their own, often offensive.  

There are five people involved in this story. Mary, a mother and grandmother, who works at the hospital, has an absent husband and also a secret life. On top of this, for many years she has taken over the care of two teenage boys, Malachi and Tristan. Malachi, the eldest, yearns to be an architect and is struggling through college. He is also pining for his girlfriend Pamela, who is kept a prisoner, locked in her flat by her over-protective father. Tristan is fifteen, bright, but wayward. He has fallen in with a bad crowd and is now taking drugs. To show off to his friends, he taunts and bullies a boy he calls a 'retard'. This boy, Elvis, is over-weight, slow and backward, struggling to remember what his care-home worker has told him, but determined to keep the freedom which his new flat provides.

This then is the setting before the disaster occurs, an event that changes the lives of those living in Nightingale Point forever. The story has obvious parallels with Grenfell Tower. It is careful not only to deal with the immediate result of the disaster but also how all their lives are profoundly changed afterwards. In the following five years they emerge as damaged, saddened, but ultimately better human beings.

The storyline may not suit all readers, but it is a moving and provocative read.

Jane

Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of this book to review.
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This is a story of ordinary people in the 1990s, going about their lives in a high rise block of flats, all with their own problems and issues.  Disaster strikes the building and the lives of those who survive are turned upside down. They will never be the same again. Partly inspired by a disaster in the Amsterdam, and partly by Grenfell.  Once I got used to the format of before, during and after, I enjoyed it and it helped me get to know the many and varied characters, and to care about what happened to them. The ending of this thought provoking and memorable book  is largely optimistic.
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Whilst the idea for this story is familiar and contemporary, it is the believable, complex characters that make it worth reading for me. The author’s knowledge of this setting and social ethos makes the reader feel part of the story. The characters easy to empathise, even when they are not always likeable.

The ordinariness of life in the tower block setting makes the tragic event both dramatic and unexpected. There is a careful build-up of characterisation at the beginning so that when the event occurs, you care what happens.

The aftermath is also well written and explores in a sensitive way what happens to our characters afterwards. The ending is poignant but hopeful. emphasising the quality of the community and the individuals who comprise it. They are born into adversity and rise above it, making a story that could be too sad, life-affirming and heartwarming.

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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A beautifully written and so so emotional story here from Luan Goldie- a genuinely insightful piece of storytelling that digs deep into your soul.

The residents of Nightingale Point are diverse and authentic, engaging and intriguing- the minutiae of their days, their relationships to each other and themselves, the very heart of community pops from the page – the author sets the scene with clever nuance, descriptive sense and no wasted words, embedding them into your consciousness- then throws an extraordinary and life changing event at them, exploring multiple layers of socially relevant themes in the aftermath.

I don’t think I’ve read such a truly human story in ages, an inciting event inspired by at least two very real modern tragedies which then allows you to see the harsh reality of recovery, from the perspective of the people not the rhetoric, not the headlines, not the political manoeuvring or the slanted viewpoint but the actual people.

Nightingale Point is an intelligent, gorgeous and heart wrenching novel, with characters you’ll never forget and a thought provoking undertow that will stay with you for a long time.

Highly Recommended.
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A wonderful story of coming together in the face or tragedy- I was hooked on this story and couldn't put it down!
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Frankly - I coud not put this down - I became totally drawn in to this adept writer's created world. ... its punchy writing style worked to keep forward momentum (although sometimes I got lost ...) - the voices are distinct and the ambitious style of shifting them to tell the story is done well. When tragedy strikes in what is a hot house of deflected and repressed feelings and wishes, it has great impact - adjusted by the author to let us ease into another twist at the ending. Really impressive ... other reviews have set out the story, but its craft intrigued me a lot (maybe self conscious at times). This is surely a writer to keep an eye on for the future.
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I loved the approach. It’s bold, gritty and fresh. Live-action with an urban feel to it. The author puts all the focus on the characters, the interactions and the dialogue between them instead of the event. The result is the feeling of the story taking place in a snowglobe or a vacuum without the outside penetrating the atmosphere.

Nothing exists bar the building, the people and the moments between all of the characters. It's non-linear with multiple storylines taking place simultaneously with characters linked to each story, which gives it a chain-link six degrees of separation feel to it.

I am purposely going to avoid talking about the event that takes place, because that is exactly how Goldie has structured the story. It happens on the periphery, which adds to the shell-shock atmosphere. Imagine the aftermath of a catastrophe. The seconds, minutes just after it happens. The silence, the dust and the disbelief. The moments before reality sets in and people begin to react.

It's based on a true event, which the majority of people won't remember or perhaps won't even realise that it happened. I remember. I lived on the German-Dutch border and wasn't that far away at the time. I had forgotten all about it until I read this.

Anyway I digress.

As I mentioned above, I really enjoyed the way the author told the story. It felt as if the most important and humane elements of our existence were brought to the table, albeit with small interactions and perhaps insignificant relationships. Those insignificant moments grow exponentially when the surroundings or circumstances change. That is the message at the crux of this book.

I came away from this read thinking about how a few moments of my time can influence my life and that of others, which in turn can lead to something more positive at another point in time. You just never know what is around the corner and who will be there in your darkest and most vulnerable moments.

It's a gritty contemporary urban novel. For a debut novel this is a cracking read and I am sure just the first of many for this author.
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Given recent tragedies, this book is particularly timely and poignant.   The book focuses on a range of characters living side by side in a tower block and in the aftermath of a catastrophic tragedy.  The characters are all so well written, interesting you really feel invested in them.
 The book ends on an optimistic note and gives hope that those touched by such tragedy can move forward and reach peace.
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I thought about bailing on this after 2 chapters. There were a lot of characters and I didn’t yet see what would tie them together. But I’m please to say I didn’t, as I would have missed out on a very enjoyable as well as at times challenging read.

Central to the cast of characters are brothers are brothers Tristan and Malachi and Mary, a nurse whose children are grown and have left home, but who frets and watches over the brothers. All are introduced via the mundane nature of their day to day lives only a sudden traumatic event to stand everything on it’s head.

Bit by bit we get an insight to the passions and fears of many of the residents, the twists and turns of their lives up to and after the fateful centrepiece of the story. One of the challenges of a story with a plot defining event in the first third of the story is sustaining the plot afterwards and pulling together the loose ends. Author Luan Goldie (in her debut novel no less) manages this with aplomb, managing a page turning plot without losing any realism.

Of course, there were a few characters I wanted to know more about – Mary’s lover Harris, Malachi’s’ girlfriend Pamela and her father Jay – a bigot or just a very fearful man? But that aside, it’s a book that closes leaving you wanting more, and that’s no bad thing.
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