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Not the End by Kate Vane

Not the End

by Kate Vane

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Kate Vane's novel, Not the End, centers around the death of a former muse to a local painter in a shore town, perhaps a typical Devon vacation spot. Connected to this death, there is also a mystery: did the deceased, herself a painter, have a valuable painting by her then-lover painter, and if she did, where is it now? Several people are directly involved in the potential existence of this painting: the cemetery director who oversees the burial/cremation of the deceased, the probate officer who is supposed to assess the possessions of the deceased and find those who may be eligible to inherit them, and a local academic who is writing a career-defining book about the painter. In addition to some pertinent characters that surround these three, several that directly connect to the deceased painter, a young artists who was friends and neighbors with the deceased, the woman who discovered the dead body on the beach, and the widow of the famous painter, play important parts in the story. All in all, there are quite a lot of characters and storylines that weave in and out of the main plot, making Not the End a rich, at times a bit chaotic, novel.

Vane writes well, drawing out the sublime from the daily toils of ordinary people like cemetery directors, probate officers, divorcees and bachelors, and the elderly. The hopes, dreams, and failures of the young, middle aged, as well as the seasoned characters are laid bare in just a few well placed and aptly paced vignettes that always serve some purpose to further the plot or story. Perhaps the most profound observations come from Brenda, the woman who discovers the dead body on the beach on the day her husband of many years leaves her for unknown reasons. Her life, like the lives of the other main characters, is intimately sliced in transparent bits for close examination, but always with kindness and agility.

To tie it all in when there is so much going on is sometimes difficult, but Vane pulls it off. The end is more the continuation of life as we know it, while not much happens, but things happen all the time. Overall, Not the End strikes a balance between the contemplative and the impulsive.

Recommended for those who like real estate hunting, home improvement, swimming in the ocean, dogs, paintings, nosy neighbors, weddings and tea.

Thanks to LibraryThing and the author for a copy of the novel in exchange for my honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed it! ( )
  bluepigeon | Jul 12, 2017 |
Meh. I tried to get into this book, but it lacks a certain hook. An interesting story, but a strong editing finger is needed to punch up what is a very interesting look at death. There are a lot of people in this book to keep track of; and I'm still not sure how everyone is related. The wit and humour of a British writer is there, but a defined narrative is far from shown. Edit edit edit! ( )
  kristincedar | Jun 1, 2017 |
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