Sandstone Press

Truestory by Catherine Simpson

RRP: £8.99
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781910124598
Publication Date: 17/09/2015
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Catherine Simpson

Alice's life is dictated by her autistic son, Sam, who refuses to leave their remote Lancashire farm. Her only time 'off' is two hours in Lancaster on a Tuesday afternoon - and even that doesn't always pan out to be the break she needs. Husband Duncan brings Larry, a rootless wanderer, to the farm to embark on a money making scheme they've dreamed up. Alice is hostile but Larry beguiles Sam with tales of travel in the outside world and, soon, Alice begins to fall for him, too. By turns blackly comic, heart-breaking and heart-warming, Truestory looks at what happens when sacrifice slithers towards martyrdom. By turns happy and sad, ultimately it is a tale of hope.

Catherine Simpson

Catherine Simpson portrait

Catherine Simpson has been shortlisted in the Mslexia Novel Award, the Asham Award, Bristol Short Story Prize and Bath Short Story Award. Her work has featured in anthologies and she has performed...

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‘Readers are in for big treats with Simpson's terrific novel - it's funny, poignant, perceptive and flags up a wonderfully witty warning to parents who leave - unsupervised - their laptop-loving offspring. Set on a remote, ramshackle Lancashire farm, Alice and Duncan live with their seriously "special needs" son. This demanding, Geekish, 12-year old, Sam, may be a nightmare to have around but he's brighter than a laser-beam searchlight. Alice is at the end of her tether, slobbish Duncan's farming schemes are a disaster, the money is running out and Sam stays mostly in his bedroom chatting about life's big questions on-line. When Duncan brings home a hippie man-of-the-road type to help set up a polytunnel cannabis farm Alice is furious.She cold-shoulders the hippie until his gentle kindness towards Sam gradually wins her approval... As soon as she starts shaving her legs and swapping her dungarees for a short skirt can guess which way the wind is blowing. Highlights of the book are Sam's chat-room conversations which had me laughing out loud. Highly recommended. ’
-Val Hennessy

‘Catherine Simpson does not waste words. She has that rare ability to conjure up people and places, how they look and how they sound, in just a sentence or two. Her writing is vivid, perceptive and acute, and she deserves a wide readership.’
-James Robertson

‘Simpson’s novel is a vivid and empathetic portrayal of what it is to be a mother to a special needs child living in isolation. She captures both the poignant and the comic aspects of their situation in this simple and well told story.’
-Lothian Life

‘The novel is interspersed with pages from Sam’s online chat-room conversations. His user name is Truestory, explains Simpson, because when an autistic person becomes convinced that something is true, there’s no arguing otherwise.’
-The Herald

‘Autism is very isolating and the novel- which is told from the mother’s point of view- explores how it can affect the whole family.’
-Dundee Courier

‘Catherine Simpson's debut novel is moving but never mawkish, and ultimately hopeful,providing a sympathetic portrait of a family struggling with autism in straitened times. Sam's on-line interactions with a motley group of friends are laugh-out-loud funny, providing some memorable insights. ’
-Sunday Mirror

‘Alice is such a fun part of the book; she is struggling to keep it together, but the humour is well-placed and her situation is strangely comical at times. I really did read on with hope that her life would become everything she had ever hoped it would be. Catherine Simpson writes suffocation and isolation so well, I felt pained for Alice.Even though there are comedic touches running throughout the book, it doesn't lose its sense of sadness, loss or the reality of life, especially when it feels mundane and you have a character that feels weary.I giggled and welled up at different times during the book, so prepare yourself for the roller-coaster journey. A funny, real read that will make you see that change is always possible. It just takes time.’

‘…the novel is a lesson in recognising the small, more satisfying parts of life and using them as a way forward through the harder parts. Lots for (book) groups to discuss. ’

‘…with its unflinching picture of motherhood, desire and frustration, this debut is ultimately more about hope than despair. More than that: it feels like a true story.A’
-Isabel Costello The Literary Sofa

‘A moving, well-crafted, engaging debut novel.’
-Portobello Book Blog

‘A very fine first novel.’
-The Herald's Books of 2015