Holly Williams’ “The Start of Something”: One thing causes another

by Eleanor
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Although some could refer to The Start of Something as a closely related collection of short tales or even episodes, it is Holly Williams’ second novel. This new book tells the lives of ten characters throughout a summer, connecting them in a way akin to a daisy chain. The story opens with Will, whose partner abandoned him after convincing him to join her at Sheffield.

It’s an acknowledgement that one chapter is about to close and a new one is about to start. They are on the verge of something—both the excitement and the fear of being free to be whoever they want to be, of new lives, new identities, new friends, and new loves.

Will helps a sculptor with his profession as a welder, which gives his parents a greater appreciation for what he does. After Teodora leaves, he becomes lonely and uses dating apps to connect with Manda, who is spending the weekend with her father, before going back to the bar she runs. Her foolish decision to hook up with a staff member has terrible consequences for Si and his girlfriend, who takes comfort at a party with an older woman who appears to be in a polyamorous relationship, but she isn’t sure about it.

Over the weekend, Prisha’s non-binary partner, irritated by JB’s high-minded incapacity to make concessions for the challenges of single parenthood and her need to make money through sex work, spends time with Soo, an old friend and fellow artist. The client of that weekend, disturbed by his wife’s extramarital affairs and having lost faith in their open relationship.

This causes her to run into a drag queen at a festival, which connects her to Will and a stroll through the Peak District.

You should not worry about it; you can do whatever you want.

This book is so masterfully written; the characters take turns leading the next, with little nods to the past interwoven in between. It’s always the beginning of something fresh, sometimes welcomed, sometimes not. The main theme examines gender, identity, and sexuality with compassion, empathy, and even a little bit of tender humor now and then. Although there is a link between each character because they have all slept with the next in line, it is their backstories and relationships that really draw you in.

Although a lot of people are depressed or lonely, some are attempting to win over their relationships at all costs, and some are crushed. Holly Williams decides to close her novel with a heartwarming and hopeful moment. This cleverly written book, which acknowledges how difficult it can be to navigate the many facets of love and sexual identity, was a pleasure to read. It also has a lot of art, which I usually find attractive.

For more info visit: https://alifeinbooks.co.uk/

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