A novel about love, music and coming to terms with the past, from the author of the international bestseller The Rosie Project.
The Best of Adam Sharp Synopsis
On the cusp of fifty, Adam Sharp has a loyal partner, earns a good income as an IT contractor and is the music-trivia expert at quiz nights. It’s the lifestyle he wanted, but something’s missing.
Two decades ago, on the other side of the world, his part-time piano playing led him into a passionate relationship with Angelina Brown, who’d abandoned law studies to pursue her acting dream. She gave Adam a chance to make it something more than an affair—but he didn’t take it. And now he can’t shake off his nostalgia for what might have been.
Then, out of nowhere, Angelina gets in touch. What does she want? Does Adam dare to live dangerously? How far will he go for a second chance?
One of our dozen Top Aussie Reads of 2016, The Best of Adam Sharp is now published in the US by St Martin’s Press and in the UK by Michael Joseph. In May 2017, Australian actress Toni Collette’s production company Vocab Films optioned the novel and screenplay of The Best of Adam Sharp.
If my life prior to 15 February, 2012 had been a song, it might have been ‘Hey Jude’, a simple piano tune, taking my sad and sorry adolescence and making it better. In the middle, it would pick up—better and better—for a few moments foreshadowing something extraordinary. And then: just na-na-na-na, over and over, pleasant enough, but mainly because it evoked what had gone before.
Just in case you’re under any illusions, this novel is decidedly different than those that have come before — it is not a romantic comedy, and it does contain explicit adult content.
The Best of Adam Sharp is a compelling drama about love, life and choices, infused with Simsion’s trademark wit and poignancy.
These days I was taking more from my bank of memories than I was putting in.
The day might come when I had nothing but memories, and the choice of whether to indulge my romantic side and wallow in them, or my cynical side and reflect on their reliability.
While Simsion’s talent for snappy dialogue (and hilariously awkward dinner conversations) is once again on display, this story’s driving themes are much deeper and infinitely more complex. While taken to the extreme on occasion, each character’s changing and imperfect motivations and decisions ring true.
Were there a couple of things I considered surplus to story requirements? Yes. But unless you have lived in a bubble, it is unlikely you will not connect with elements of Adam Sharp’s journey of self-assessment and discovery, and make parallels to your own life.
What particularly resonated with me, and what sets this adult drama apart, are the strong and recurring links made between music, memories and emotion. Yes, Simsion has literally created a The Best of Adam Sharp playlist, and there really is something in it for everyone, from Joni Mitchell to Adele, the Rolling Stones to The Killers, and the references made to songs/lyrics within the novel are very clever. But it’s bigger than that…
We all have our own playlists (literal and metaphorical), and their value goes well beyond the sentimental — highlighting the extent to which we let our behaviour be influenced by events in the past and a means to consider situations from different perspectives. And while its effect may not always be as immediate or visceral as music (or a sight or smell), I think all avid readers would agree that fiction is a similarly powerful medium that helps us reference, explore and process our emotions.
Graeme Simsion’s The Best of Adam Sharp is a novel that asks important questions, and is as moving as it is entertaining.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5
Genre: Literature, Drama, Romance, Humour
This review counts towards my participation in the 2016 Aussie Author Challenge.
About the Author, Graeme Simsion
Graeme Simsion was born in Auckland and is a Melbourne-based writer of novels, short stories, plays, screenplays and two non-fiction books.
The Rosie Project began life as a screenplay, winning the Australian Writers Guild/Inscription Award for Best Romantic Comedy before being adapted into a novel. It went on to win the 2012 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript and has since been sold around the world to over forty countries. Sony Pictures have optioned the film rights with Graeme contracted to write the script. The Rosie Project won the 2014 ABIA for Best General Fiction Book, and was ultimately awarded Australian Book of the Year for 2014. The sequel, The Rosie Effect, was released in 2014 to great acclaim and also became a bestseller.
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* My receiving a copy of The Best of Adam Sharp from Text Publishing for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions in the review above.