BookBrowse Reviews The Ninth Life of Louis Drax by Liz Jensen

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Ninth Life of Louis Drax

A Novel

by Liz Jensen

The Ninth Life of Louis Drax by Liz Jensen
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2005, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2006, 240 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A darkly humorous novel compared to The Lovely Bones

From the book jacket: Louis Drax is a boy like no other. He is brilliant and strange, and every year something violent seems to happen to him. His psychologist is baffled, and his mother lives in constant panic. He has always managed to survive — to land on his feet, like a cat. But cats have only nine lives, and Louis has used up eight, one for every year.

On his ninth birthday, Louis goes on a picnic with his parents and falls off a cliff. The details are shrouded in mystery. Louis' mother is shell-shocked; his father has vanished. And after some confusion Louis himself, miraculously alive but deep in a coma, arrives at Dr. Pascal Dannachet's celebrated coma clinic.

Was the fall a mere accident? If anyone knows, they're not telling. Until one day, still deep within his coma, Louis meets the bandaged figure who calls himself Gustave, and begins to tell his tale.

Comment: The Ninth Life of Louis Drax is a macabre little book with a dark sense of humor, and is really quite brilliant.  It's been compared to The Lovely Bones (because both narrators are children and both are dead or close to it. However, to my mind they are very different types of book - reviews of The Lovely Bones are littered with soft upbeat adjectives such as 'luminous' and 'astonishing', while words such as 'surreal', 'sharp', 'suspenseful' and 'disarmingly comic' turn up when describing The Ninth Life.

Liz Jensen says, 'The inspiration for Louis Drax came from my own grandmother’s death in Switzerland in the 1930s. Her body was found at the bottom of a cliff, three days after her eldest son had vanished from the face of the earth. The mystery of how my grandmother died, and what happened to her lost son, was never solved. It cast a shadow across the whole family, and when I first heard it as a child, it haunted me (more).

This review is from the January 18, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: All Our Wrong Todays
    All Our Wrong Todays
    by Elan Mastai
    You need a great deal of time to read All Our Wrong Todays, but don't let that put you off. ...
  • Book Jacket: Dadland
    Dadland
    by Keggie Carew
    In her notable debut, Keggie Carew examines the life of her father Tom, a decorated war hero whose ...
  • Book Jacket: Piecing Me Together
    Piecing Me Together
    by Renee Watson
    Race and class in American culture certainly dominate the news right now. These two things seem to ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Mercies in Disguise
    by Gina Kolata

    A story of hope, a family's genetic destiny, and the science that rescued them.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Lola
    by Melissa Scrivner Love

    An astonishing debut crime thriller about an unforgettable woman.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -