Today I’m joining the publication day blitz for 337 by M. Jonathan Lee with Love Book Tours by hosting an extract from the book. Please note the double-ended upside-down opening for this book is available in books ordered in hard copy from UK booksellers only.
337 follows the life of Samuel Darte whose mother vanished when he was in his teens. It was his brother, Tom who found her wedding ring on the kitchen table along with the note.
While their father pays the price of his mother’s disappearance, Sam learns that his long-estranged Gramma is living out her last days in a nursing home nearby.
Keen to learn about what really happened that day and realising the importance of how little time there is, he visits her to finally get the truth.
Soon it’ll be too late and the family secrets will be lost forever. Reduced to ashes. But in a story like this, nothing is as it seems.
As I dress, I wonder what would happen if I too decided not to visit Gramma. What if I decided that I couldn’t be bothered to make the effort? If I decided that instead of seeing my dying relative, I would pursue the imaginary possibility of playing music with a world-renowned rock star? And it instantly comes to me.
Nothing would happen.
Nothing at all.
Gramma would die.
And the impact on my life would be the same as removing one grain of sand from the Sahara.
But there is something that makes me different to my brother, my father. It is more than just a yearning not to be like them. It is actually a part of me. A part of what makes me the way I am. I am not like them. I have always played this role. I’ve spent a lifetime making up for their behaviour by doing more than one person could ever be reasonably expected to do.
To be honest with you, Gramma dying alone doesn’t even bother me.
After what happened, it’s no more than she deserves.
I make my way downstairs into the kitchen and click on the kettle. I try to imagine how I would have felt if my father had called and told me that Gramma had already died. I concentrate, stripping away my personal feelings for her and wrestling with how I should feel on hearing of the death of anybody. I am still thinking as the rush of steam is propelled into the underside of the kitchen cupboards, dispersing in all directions like the mushroom from an atom bomb.
I decide that I will make the effort and at least visit her once.
That feels right. I’ll do it tomorrow
M Jonathan Lee is a nationally shortlisted author and mental health campaigner. His first novel The Radio was nationally shortlisted in the Novel Prize 2012. Since that time he has gone on to publish five further novels with ‘337’ being his sixth novel. Jonathan is a tireless campaigner for mental health awareness and writes his own column regularly for the Huffington Post. He has recently written for the Big Issue and spoken at length about his own personal struggle in the British national press on the BBC and Radio Talk Europe.
Endlessly fascinated by the human condition and what leads people to do the things they do to one another, Jonathan is obsessed with writing stories with twists where nothing is exactly how it first appears.