Little Bandaged Days

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

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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Thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan Picador for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Little Bandaged Days is an astonishingly accomplished and compelling account of one woman's decent into madness. Our narrator is Erika, lonely mother of young children, and this is her story. In her perfectly calibrated prose, Kyra Wilder provides one of the most vivid and insightful accounts of mental illness, and its all-consuming nature, I have ever read. Erika's first person narration/internal monologues are without doubt uncomfortable reading, and her gradual decent into complete mental disintegration carries a palpable sense of unease. Wilder, at times, makes you feel like a voyeur, glimpsing the forbidden, hidden psychodrama rippling through the firing, or misfiring synapses of Erika's mind. This insight and visceral response to Erika's plight is what makes this novel all the more powerful - the tension,, the dread, the expectation, and the almost cannibalistic nature of the young woman's journey to complete psychosis. This is not the type of novel that will appeal to those that are focused on plot and a conclusive denouement. There again, it is not that type of book. For a truly authentic account of psychosis a defined narrative would seem like a grotesque insult to the type of story Kyra Wilder is trying to tell. This is not a story that easily accommodates the very human inclination to order and sift facts chronologically. Erika's story is one of chaos, an increasingly tenuous grip on reality - the proverbial world turned upside down. This is captured astonishingly accurately in the powerful, yet understated prose of Kyra Wilder. Every page is gift, an insight and a plea for understanding, all wrapped up in the enigma that is the infinitely complex journey through the human mind.. Quite simply an astounding novel and a true tour de force.
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A luminous, slow-ravelling and disturbing story of a young, isolated woman gradually going mad. I really enjoyed the writing here and the gradual destruction, but I would have loved a little more clarity around what the big 'event' was. As it stands, there was so much menace set up and I felt it lacked a tiny bit of payout. It's beautifully done, though!
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3.5 stars.
This was a poignant and often uncomfortable read that held my attention quite well throughout but left me less than satisfied at the end. It's kind of written like a journal, hence the use of initial instead of names for husband and children, and describes how a young mother descends into madness following relocation to a different country and the isolation that ensues.
I did struggle to believe the mother could be so abandoned and left to her own devices without any support either from her husband (an admitted workaholic with possible other interests) or the company that now employs him. You'd think that they'd do anything to make his transition happy so he would stay productive, and that includes his nearest and dearest. The way the book has been written implies that she has been left pretty much to herself without any support. But she also comes across as a bit unreliable in her perception so I'll keep the jury out on that one. I also fail to believe that the husband was that clueless although, again, he could just be ignoring things for his own agenda.
All that said though, it did get under my skin at times and was a bit harrowing to read on occasion. Some of the scenes were so well written that the emotion was oozing from the page. Others we so devoid of emotion and delivered as matter-of-fact, which only enhanced the woman's descent into madness.
We also hear from her (I can only assume it was her) whilst she is in some kind of hospital. These parts were interspersed occasionally throughout the narrative and pretty much confused the heck out of me as to their point.
I was never any good at writing compositions at school but even I know that a story needs to have an ending. Not necessarily all tied up in a bow, but it has to draw some conclusions. Maybe I missed the whole point but, as I turned the final page of this book, I was left with the feeling of "is that it?" The journey was interesting but it did feel like I was just going round in circles without any hope of reaching a destination...
My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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This is a really compelling novel with a unique narrative structure and voice.

I enjoyed reading it and it stayed with me long after I finished.
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I don't think I've ever experienced such a strong, and growing sense of dread for a character in a book, as I did with this.  Narrated by Erika, wife of M and mother of two children, toddler E and baby B (we never learn their full names), Little Bandaged Days is about a family who move to Geneva because of M's job.  Erika is left on her own for much of the time, in a small rented apartment with her two tiny children.  No adult company.  Unable to speak the language.  Hardly ever knowing where her husband is, or with whom.  Constantly at the whim of her children at all hours, day and night.  As a reader, I was glued to Erika as she slowly but surely slid down the slippery path from loneliness to madness.  I was amazed to learn that this book is a debut novel.  The writing is so beautiful and the story is told with such compassion, it really did tug at my heart strings.  I will be thinking about it for a while to come.
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I struggled.
I hate to give this 3* because it could have been so much better for me in certain ways.

I get the complexity of this, the Mother is on a downward spiral of mental well-being since the birth of her children. That I 150% get. No doubt or room for error and it’s well written and explained.

What irritated me the most was her reference to them. Just referring to them by their initials.
I was so hung up in that it became all consuming whilst I was reading it, just waiting for those initials again and I’d be grrrrrrrr. Was this to show her remoteness? If that’s the case I understand, but it’s too darn irritating for me the reader. I can honestly say it ruined it for me.

You know that big wall painted pure white? Then there’s this itsy weenie little black mark? That mark becomes your focus point now you’ve spotted it! And you tend to ignore the huge surrounding wall painted nicely white. Because your eyes get drawn to that dam black tiny spot.

Well.....that was me each time the authors character refers to those individuals with a dam capital letter!

That’s it really.
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If I have a pet peeve in reading, it's vague endings that leave too much open to interpretation, and unfortunately this was a book that never reaches a solid conclusion. I do believe the theme is an important one to cover. Mental health issues amongst mothers is something I hold particularly close to my heart; it's what drew me to this title in the first place. Parenting small children can be an isolating experience for some, despite having an excellent support network. The mother in this story (Erika) however, faced the hurdles of moving to a different country and raising the children of a man who spent majority of his days and nights at work instead of helping his poor wife avoid the inevitable downward spiral from sleep deprivation and loneliness to depression. The way her two children and husband are only referred to as a single initial and not given names made it difficult to form true connections to those characters. Perhaps it was an attempt by the author to portray the idea that this could represent any family; the presence of PND in our society is something that does not discriminate and can effect many. 

Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan, Picador and Net Galley for the opportunity to review this novel. It will be released to the public on January 3rd.
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A young mother moves to Switzerland with her husband and two young children thanks to his new job. His new job that has him working all manner of hours and is hardly ever home. Leaving the mum home alone with the kids in a different country, with different customs and a different language that she can’t speak or understand. She’s completely isolated and has no support at all. Little Bandaged Days is her story as her mental health declines and her grasp of reality becomes more and more muddled.  Leaving the reader confused as you question whether what you have read is fact or her confused view on reality. Written in an unusual manner as there’s no traditional form of speech in the book and the only name mentioned in the book is the made up name she invents for another mum she comes across in her daily travels. Her children and husband are only referred to by their first initial - keeping the reader detached from these characters as you go along with the mum as her health worsens, and it also helps add to the confusion of her story. You really feel for her whilst she was in the middle of the frightening moments. What was also really poignant for me was how her husband, when he did come home (apparently) spotted no change in his wife’s health and (apparently) did little to support her. Added to the confusion was the snippets interspersed in the book where the mum is (apparently) talking to visitors whilst she’s in a hospital. A really good (confusing) story that was just a little too long in parts.
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The beginning of the book started well and I could relate.  A young couple with two small children relocated to Geneva by the husband’s job.
Erica the young wife find herself alone for much of the time as her husband referred to as M spends many hours away from home. Erica is unable to speak the language and this is even more isolating for her. Erica’s behavior deteriorates and the rest of the book is about the time she spends with the children referred to as E & B she doesn’t want to go out and makes games staying in the apartment with the shutters down.  It seems her mother also had mental health issues.
I so wanted to enjoy this book but found it actually had no story to it.  The only real character was Erica and her husband and children were just initials which I found odd so you could not connect with them.  I know the husband was away for much of the time but there was no mention of him when she was (I quess) sectioned.  The book was just her ramblings.
I found it difficult to read and must confess wanted to give up but I really wanted to know what happened in the end.  In fact, nothing happened and I am still not sure what the end was.

Many thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this ARC for which I have given my voluntary and unbiased review
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Such a hard read because of how visceral the effects are and a very sensitive subject but we'll written and though not a very uplifting read which I struggled with it was portrayed well
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I've just turned the last page on this book and I'm a little unsure how I feel about it. I liked it yet I didn't. The writing style was easy to read, yet I was uncomfortable reading it.

‘Little Bandaged Days’ by Kyra Wilder is a story of a mother descending into madness in an isolated world of motherhood. Erika moves to Geneva with her husband who has started a new and important and well-paying job abroad. Away from their family and friends, Erika’s world is limited to the small apartment where she spends all of her time caring for their two children, E and B. 

She desperately tries to create this perfect world for her two children but her grip on reality is slipping away. 

The main character Erika wasn't a character that I particularly liked. She refers to her children and husband by their first initial which made it a little difficult for me to connect with them. 

It is such an honest and heartbreaking account of the struggles that come with mental illness. 

I would've liked more clarity on the second narrative - was Erika sectioned? 

Not a comfortable read but it is definitely eye-opening. 

Thank you NetGalley for this advanced reader copy.
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There were bits of this book i really liked but for the most part i found this frustrating and too much of a slow burn with the language used not really being enough to make me want to continue with it. The premise was interesting and i thought the first few chapters were the best but as it progressed somehow the book got worse, instead of better.I disliked the characters being addressed by an initial and wished the author had used actual names for them as this came across as a lazy way to write the other characters that ween't the young mother.
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On the one hand, Little Bandaged Days by Kyra Wilder was technically a very well written book, the prose was lyrical and engaging. On the other, it was also very difficult to read and frustrating at times as well.

I try not to put down a book without finishing it if I have been sent it for review, but I nearly did so with this and part of me is annoyed with myself for not just abandoning it when I wanted to. Unfortunately, Little Bandaged Days was written in such a way that I wanted to find out what happened, but I also wanted the book to be over because it was repetitive at times.

A mother and her husband relocate to a new apartment in Geneva for the husband’s new job. The mother wants everything to be just right and perfect, but she finds Swiss life quite isolating. Her husband, known only as M, is away often for work and works long hours so she spends all her time with her two small children E and B. As the book progresses, we see a marked deterioration in the mother’s mental state and are left wondering exactly what will happen with the children.

I found the relationship between M and the mother to be quite unrealistic in terms of the balance of power and this frustrated me endlessly whilst I was reading the book.

“If I was finding everything to be harder than I thought I might find it, well, I told myself, M was working hard too. I knew he was working hard and everything would be easier for him, and more equal really, if everything at home was perfect and dinner was cooked well and ready for him.”

The more their relationship is deteriorating from the reader’s point of view the worse her obsession with keeping house becomes.

The latter part of the book was very hard to read as the mother of a small child.

I can see that some readers will rave about this book but for me it was a bit of a struggle.
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A young mothers descent into madness- it all starts so perfectly, the up and coming husband, moving to a new country for work, away from family & friends. The mother is isolated and lonely, and it’s not long before signs that something isn’t right seep in, and there’s possible signs it ran in the family too. A real look at how isolating being a mother can be. I did enjoy this book, and got caught up in the flow, it’s a fast read, but I did feel the ending left questions.
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I received a copy of this book from Pan Macmillan via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. At this moment in time having just finished it my mind is just going WOW and wondering how to review the book. I have had some serious blah books lately but this has just washed away all the boredom associated with them.

We never get to know the names of the main character, her husband and children are referred to merely in initials; in fact very few of the characters in the book are named. This give it a a cadence of it own, abrupt and abbreviated narrative just adds to that (can i say here I don't feel as if i am using the right words) Our MC has moved to Switzerland with her husband for his career. As he becomes increasingly busy - with work or maybe not - we see her spiral downwards into what may be post natal depression or some deeper psychosis. Every corner holds some fear for her she is only able to live on the most basic of levels, sometimes not even that. As the book progresses the storyline splits between her home and a place of detention, who is in this place and why is never explicitly stated although this reader made several guesses and indeed changed her mind from time to time.

I think the beauty of this book is not in what it says but in what it holds beneath the surface of those words and what the reader can see through the lines. I felt a creeping fear or dread as I read this almost in one sitting and when the phone rang with just a few pages to go I was more than ruffled to have to put it down.
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A very odd book indeed.

The reader is taken in by the strange style of writing, which portrays the mothers descent into madness.

All through the book, I assumed that at the end we would find that the mother was in prison or a mental hospital for a crime, possibly killing one or both of her children due to severe postnatal depression. Sadly, the end of the book just annoyed me, as there was no real conclusion.

I didn't understand how the husband could think that his wife was fine, even if he was barely there. It seems like the children were neglected...or were they? We never know.

To be honest, I didn't get on with this book at all. The style of writing just didn't do it for me and the fact that there was no real storyline made for a disappointing ending.
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