Little Bandaged Days

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

Little Bandaged Days is a beautifully written novel, but it might take some readers a little out their usual relaxation zone.

Written from our main protagonist's perspective, Little Bandaged Days takes us on a journey with her from arrival in Geneva, Switzerland through to her descent into madness.

The family's move from the US to Switzerland is a move facilitated by her husband's high flying career. He is the main breadwinner of the family, now that they have two children to care for.

After their initial arrival in Geneva, he is quickly sucked into the work environment where he spends almost of all his time. Leaving his wife, alone at home with their two young children.

She doesn't speak the local language, so even things like going to the local shops are difficult for her to manage. Her once mild anxiety worsens, as she spends her days alone with the children and her paranoia increases with every moment.

Little Bandaged Days is a very clever literary novel that won't be for everyone, but will be a delight for those daring enough to venture out of their comfort zone.
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Terrifyingly good and just terrifying. This novel is a mesmerising journey into the heart of darkness as a woman’s loneliness and postnatal depression melt and then combust into insanity. The first person narrative and the quality of writing place you inside this woman’s mind, not knowing what is real or imagined, breathless with anxiety. This is psychological suspense on a whole other level. Whilst never veering from the personal, this story is searingly political, casting unflattering light on gender politics, wealth and privilege, awareness and treatment of mental health and how we let people fall through the cracks. Take a deep breath and read it.
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Many thanks to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for my copy of this book. This is a very dark, disturbing and compelling account of a young mother's gradual unravelling. Although shocking and unpleasant, particularly as the book goes on, there were parts that I could relate to, having been through a prolonged post natal depression after the births of each of my children. The loneliness and boredom of being a full time mother to young children, the bone wearying tiredness that is beyond anything else on earth, the feeling of having completely lost yourself, the nostalgia for the fun times you and your partner had before the children came along. The sheer hard slog of the daily grind. It's a sad portrayal of what is unfortunately a very common experience, yet most mothers don't speak about how awful it really is at times. She writes beautifully; it's not a comfortable or easy read, but deserves to be widely read.
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Being a mother wasn’t something I ever yearned for. But once I got engaged to my husband it became clear that motherhood was the expected Next Step, and despite a lifetime of being, quite honestly, pretty indifferent towards having children I found myself swept along with the perfect fantasy that was having a baby.

The reality was a shock. I grappled with my loss of identity, the lack of love I felt for my little boy and the way I felt fundamentally stripped of everything I thought I was and could be.

I was diagnosed with postnatal depression within three months of my son’s birth.

Little Bandaged Days by Kyra Wilder is a book I wish I had read beforehand. Please don’t get me wrong, I love my children and I wouldn’t swap them now – but I wish I had been more prepared for the harsh realities of having children. I had no point of reference save the older generation who only, with the benefit of several decades of hindsight, saw the beauty of it.

There is tons of stuff out there that shines a light on motherhood. But so much of it seems to be laced with humour, which certainly has its place, especially when sometimes you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry, but at times it can feel as if it can trivialise the daily struggle.

I was much like Erika, the mother in the novel. Miles away from my family, friends and any sort of support system – I was isolated. My saviour was my husband. He worked long hours, but he was there when I needed him. A support that Erika doesn’t have.

A character-driven story, Little Bandaged Days is not an easy read. It’s incredibly claustrophobic and dizzyingly disorienting. At times it was as if the author had plucked buried emotions from within me and placed them within her character. I often feel empathy for characters and I’m often moved to tears, but this was on another level. I found the descriptions so vivid and the emotions conveyed to be so raw, that I was there, transported and in the moment with her.

I feel like this review is less about the novel and more about me – but to me, this novel was personal and I’ve had trouble disentangling my own emotions from those of the character; somewhere during reading they kind of mashed together. But, this speaks loudly for the authenticity of the character’s experience, and also for the power of the author’s writing in being able to so genuinely convey these emotions.

It was these emotions and the increasing randomness of thought as Erika descends into madness that create an overwhelming tension that left me holding my breath in anticipation for something terrible to happen. Her unreliability as a narrator only serves to ramp up the tension further as I was left to desperately sift through the chaotic prose for a hint of what was real. It is an uncomfortably close first person narration and it is unapologetic in the way in which gaping holes are left for the imagination of the reader to fill. For this reason, I can imagine it will be a Marmite kind of book. But for me, the often leaping prose serves to perfectly demonstrate the fraying ends of sanity.

I’ve seen so many reviews around on Twitter for this novel, but as is my own personal blogging rule – I never read a review of a book I’m due to read myself. Once this is live, I’ll be reading reviews, as I’m interested to see if my strong connection to this book is due to my own experience, or whether it chimes with other women and mothers; I’m especially keen to see how this translates to those who are yet to/cannot have/choose not to have children.

There is a stigma, as there is with all mental health issues, but as you open up and talk to other women, it’s incredible to note just how many women have gone through it. Fear and shame silence too many women and it is only by talking about these things that they become normalised.

I think that this is a book that should be read by all young women. Not as a scare tactic but as a truthful narrative of just how isolating motherhood can be. Balance is needed, and for all the wonderment there is in becoming a mother – and there is – for many, there is also darkness and it is this darkness that needs to become a part of everyday conversation.

Deeply affecting – Little Bandaged Days is a highly emotive and relevant read. It won’t be for everyone, but as far as I’m concerned it is an incredibly important book and one which should get noticed.
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There is a lot to love in Kyra Wilder's début novel, Little Bandaged Days.

A mother, Erika, moves to Geneva with her husband and their two young children, but in their beautiful new rented apartment she finds herself totally isolated. He husband is away often away working and her entire time spent is caring for her children. What follows is Erika's gradual descent into madness.

For the most part, I adored this book. It was a beautiful piece of prose and I was amazed that it's  Kyra Wilder's début. It is a fabulously crafted piece of fiction with a veritable sense of trepidation and arresting imagery. The senses of apprehension and oppression gradually build throughout.

The story is divided into three sections, and in each one Erika’s imagined, perfect bubble becomes more detached from reality as she becomes more isolated from the world outside. It is easy to imagine Erika’s battle to create the perfect family life, which everyone else seems to have. As Erika begins to lose control, the story pulls the reader into Erika’s insular world. I found that the other characters in the novel were more difficult to visualise. Erika’s children, E and B, and her husband M are never actually named, making it difficult to fully connect them to the story. 

Little Bandaged Days is about motherhood, absent husbands, language barriers, isolation, feelings of abandonment, change and loneliness. Overall, a very good début and a worthwhile read.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my request, from Pan Macmillan/Picador via NetGalley and this review is my own unbiased opinion.
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This is a story about a young wife & mother’s isolation and the spiralling mental health issues she suffers from after a move to a foreign country. I started off feeling intrigued and really enjoying the book & the writing but unfortunately became disillusioned very quickly as I just couldn’t engage with the main character at all. The use of initials instead of names only added to my sense of disconnect. I also found it very difficult to believe her husband was so blind and uncaring about what was happening (even if he was having an affair! And was he? This was one of a few issues that weren’t really cleared up for me)  I really didn’t like the sections that were set in the hospital either. I’m going to give the book 3* because I started off really liking it & I do believe the author has talent. Maybe, with better editing, this could have been an enjoyable read all the way through. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Picador for the advance copy which I received in exchange for an honest review.
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A mother moves to Geneva with her husband and two young children. What initially seems like a new adventure for the family of four gradually becomes an exploration into the corrosive nature of isolation.

In my first year of University, a PhD student (who I may have had a bit of a crush on) described Michel Foucault’s ‘Madness and Civilisation’ as ‘a book about madness written by madness’ and I suppose that particular phrasing must have stuck with me, because it was all I could think about while reading Little Bandaged Days.

I did not enjoy this book. There was no comfort between the covers. You won’t find any escapism here. Kyra Wilder has created something that personifies discomfort. This book is stiflingly  claustrophobic, visceral, disturbing and, perhaps worst of all, utterly immersive. Her descent becomes your descent and while this spoke to me as someone who’s spent a lot of time working from home (with minimal human contact), I imagine it’d speak far louder to someone who has or is spending a lot of time alone with young children.

I can’t think of many occasions where I’ve found a book incredibly accomplished while also not enjoying the process of reading it. If you want to spend a few hours feeling deeply uncomfortable while appreciating some writing finesse, give it a spin.
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I found Little Bandaged Days by Kyra Wilder a quick read. However, It started off well and then I found it boring and tedious. Sorry

Big Thank you to NetGalley, and Pan Macmillan the publishers who provided me with a free ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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This is a quick quirky little read about a mother’s unraveling sanity after finding herself isolated living overseas in Geneva with her young children and “workaholic” husband. I didn’t hate this book but I didn’t love it either. I found Erika somewhat relatable since we recently completed an overseas move. I understand how in the beginning everything seems shiny and perfect, but then the honeymoon period wears off, the vacation-feel of the move is shaken off, and the monotony of everyday life prevails.  Unfortunately, this is where the relatibility stops because  I began to question her decision making and the likelihood of such possible isolation.  The majority of the book is her inner monologue and her journey to complete madness. I could not grasp why she made choices she did... I found myself racing through pages to get to the climax, but ultimately it left me feeling very confused and perhaps a bit unhinged. I honestly don’t even know if I understood what exactly happened in the end and if the other characters actually existed outside of her head.  Part of me wants to go back and reread the last bit but the other part of me thinks there are too many books out there to backtrack on something that didn't strike my fancy.
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In this tense read, a woman's mind begins to unravel after she moves to Geneva with her high-flying businessman husband and their two young children.  M, her husband, is barely present and with no connections in this new city, she finds her only purpose is to care for her children, E & B, and to be the perfect mother.  

Gradually, creepingly, the isolation, claustrophobia, insomnia, and demands of two infants begin to take their toll, and it becomes hard to know where reality begins and ends.  

This is a taut read, with a building sense of impending dread, but it almost became too much and I felt frustrated awaiting the conclusion.  Nevertheless, it's good to see books that acknowledge that motherhood is not always natural and easy. Wilder is clearly a writing talent to keep an eye out for, creating something that is lyrical and compelling, albeit uncomfortable.
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Excellently executed, beautifully written book. 
It takes you away from everything that you know both as a person and place. It’s a very atmospheric book. 
Good read. 
Recommended 
Thank you to both NetGalley and publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my review
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This was a well written, compelling read about a mother spiraling towards madness as she struggles to look after her two children. She moves to a new country where her husband is always at work. She doesn't speak the language, she is friendless, sleep deprived and lonely. 

 I thought it was very cleverly written, the subject could be an uncomfortable read for some and I predict that this is going to be a marmite book, you will either love it or hate it.
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Little Bandaged Days is a story of motherhood, the search for identity and the slow descent into madness through isolation. After moving to Geneva, Switzerland, for her husband's job protagonist Erika finds she is so very alone; once she has put the children to sleep appears to be the hours that impact her most. Despite all of these issues bubbling beneath the surface she still manages to maintain the facade of the perfect family unit she wishes so desperately she was part of. The account of her slide into insanity is so vividly and strikingly observed that I was shocked to discover this is Wilder’s debut novel. It was so visceral and fascinating right from the outset and I feel having one more compassionate book based around mental illness can only be a good thing. And also the writing is a thing of beauty.

This is so much more profound than just a story; it was an experience and a terrifying one at that. We all know that mental health is still a taboo subject and it still very much has a stigma attached to it. Being alone in a strange country with only yourself for company is a situation most of us would find extremely daunting and to make matters worse she doesn’t speak the language or understand what is being said by others. Slowly but surely she slips away and her grasp on reality continues to dwindle. It’s an emotive, haunting and heartbreaking read featuring some rather disturbing moments. One of the aspects the author does exceptionally well is creates a creeping sense of dread and oppressive claustrophobia and these build and build throughout. A compelling and important book. Many thanks to Picador for an ARC.
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A beautifully worded story of a mother of two children and her gradual descent into madness through loneliness. I felt this book rather than read it. It’s a heartbreaking read and very emotive. I feel so sad and empty after reading Little Bandaged Days. A truly beautiful and heartbreaking read.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC in return for an honest and unbiased opinion.
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I would like to thank Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read this book. However, I could not get into it i couldn't get a real feel for the characters especially as they were only referred to as M, B and E. Yes I know depression especially severe depression can happen to anyone, but thg E reader could do with knowing the names of the characters in order to feel something towards them. I didn't finish the book so don't know what happens but assume the mother ends up being sectioned, seems obvious that's what will happen after shutting herself and children away in the apartment and letting fruit rot!!!.
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I found this book very confusing. Almost the ramblings if a crazy person, which it may well be about, but I really could not get into the whole premise of it. Please do not let me put you off though! Give this book a go, I would be interested to know what you thought
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Wow this was a quite disturbing but fantastic book! Really felt for Erika and was awful to read and see her descent into madness but also a fascinating insight into mental illness. I really enjoyed it.
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The author's depiction of a wife and mother gradually descending into madness was cleverly reflected in the writing. You know that the narrator ends up in an asylum or sanitarium at an early stage, as the story is intercut with personal appeals and interjections from the woman as she is held in a room. 
The text becomes more manic and unhinged as the story unfolds. As the narrator is the mother and most of the time she has only the two children with her, the reader is left with uncertainty over what is actually happening. You discover that her mother was abandoned by her father and she subsequently went a bit mad. You also are told that as a child she crushed a mouse, so at an early stage I found her unlikable. The bruises that appear on her face and arms are unexplained - are they self-inflicted, hallucination or her husband (nobody remarks on them). 
I found the book as a whole frustrating and, like the narrator hold up in her apartment, a bit isolated from reality.
I will read other people'e reviews to see what take they had on the novel and if I have missed anything but I can't say that I enjoyed the experience.
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So many mixed feelings about this book - I felt the manic feeling she felt- like I was there in the apartment with her, constantly. But I also feel it ended far too soon with so many questions left unanswered. A sequel from Ms point of view, or even E would be great, or a sequel tying up the loose ends? Above all I feel really pleased to have read it, excited for its release and I will definitely be recommending it to everyone!
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A very different kind of read for me; I can appreciate all the elements this book portrays, motherhood and paranoia merging credibly into one. I liked the abstract writing style for what it was worth, and an eerie tone was successfully delivered throughout. However the book felt inconsistent in all these factors which ruined a lot of the immersion for me. Sometimes the writing style felt forced or abstract for the sake of it, the suspense sometimes silly, the plot sometimes lost in the tone it was delivered. No doubt the book is executed well, I just felt it could have been executed better in all of its contents.
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