The Other Story
Nicolas Duhamel, also known as the wildly famous debut author Nicolas Kolt, is doing his best to hide on a Tuscan island with his beautiful girlfriend. What he should be doing is writing his second book, but he can’t seem to find the words that came so easily the first time. That initial effort --- which made him world famous, produced an Oscar-winning movie, and brought him millions of dollars in endorsement deals --- was inspired by his father (more precisely, a secret of his father’s). While renewing his passport, Nicolas found out that his dad was Russian, not French, which opened up a whole new world of hurt. Nicolas’s father, who went missing at sea when he was a child, is both a source of inspiration and a troubling secret that haunts him.
Attempting to escape the life he so carefully crafted, Nicolas is hiding not only from his publisher, to whom he owes a manuscript, but also from his mother, his friends, and life in general. He may have written a book about his family’s very well-hidden secret, but never quite came to grips with it or his father’s disappearance. Not knowing what happened to his father has plagued him his entire life. Because of that, Nicolas is almost incapable of letting himself deal with his family’s past and, in some ways, the present. Instead, he hides behind a fake persona pretending to let the world in but is really only using it as another means of hiding.
"THE OTHER STORY is a book perfect for sitting outside in the spring sun and enjoying the day. The Tuscan setting is quite appealing, and when you get into it, there’s a lot to like here."
After a scathing review appears, his attempts to hide no longer work, and several indiscretions come to light thanks to the beauty of technology, Nicolas’s world quickly crumbles. Suddenly, he’s no longer the high-flying, carefree author with the world under his control. Unfortunately, reality isn’t kind or easy, and it becomes time to be Nicolas Duhamel again.
Tatiana de Rosnay’s characters are wonderful, which is one of the reasons I keep coming back to her books. They’re usually very appealing individuals who are dealing with understandable and relatable problems. In THE OTHER STORY, however, Nicolas starts out obnoxious and goes downhill from there. He makes bad decisions, ignores responsibility at every possible turn, and somehow manages to do his best to make himself unlikable, all while making sure that the public still thinks he’s fabulous. His family, while proud of him, pulls away as he becomes even more popular. And his friends, well, they no longer exist outside of the strange orbit he inhabits. He gets a wake-up call and finds a bit of redemption, even if it feels slightly contrived, to give him something to write about for his second book,
Still, Nicolas is likable in the way he struggles to understand who he is. He has built a bubble out of the fame, and while the person everyone wants him to be certainly exists, he knows it’s not him. His fight to understand himself is what makes this novel worth reading. His family secrets run much deeper than an argument over a sugar bowl, and that’s the mine to which he needs to go for that follow-up book. It just takes him time to find it.
THE OTHER STORY is a book perfect for sitting outside in the spring sun and enjoying the day. The Tuscan setting is quite appealing, and when you get into it, there’s a lot to like here.
Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski on April 20, 2014
The Other Story
- Publication Date: April 15, 2014
- Genres: Fiction
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press
- ISBN-10: 1250045134
- ISBN-13: 9781250045133