Thirst by Kerry Hudson

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Thirst by Kerry Hudson

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: Hard-hitting, and honest, Thirst is nevertheless an uplifting and hugely enjoyable read, exploring the furthest corners of both human nature and human relationships.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: July 2013
Publisher: Vintage
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0099589891

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London – Summer. Alena, a young Siberian immigrant is caught stealing shoes. Dave, the man who catches her, is a security guard – surviving on a minimal income and with little drive to better his quiet, repetitive life. As Alena and Dave grow closer, Dave finds his life turned upside down. But will Alena ever let down her guard, and reveal the truth about her past?

I’m aware the above synopsis may make this book sound a little like bad chick-lit, something I tend to avoid like the plague. In truth, Thirst is a hell of a lot more than a love story, but instead a gripping and moving novel that manages to explore very, very dark events with a sense of light and hope that bouys the reader along. The grim elements are wonderfully balanced, and as such this reads like a very realistic book – the characters could be people you walk past on the street every day.

A novel about sex trafficking and romance may not sound like an enjoyable read – but Alena and Dave’s relationship allows the reader some escapism amongst the grim realities, and the characters are drawn exceedingly well. Flashing back to Alena's life in Russia, it is hard not to feel shock at quite how much she has become broken and subdued by her experiences, as we see an adventurous young girl become disillusioned, disengaged, and lost in a world that she can barely communicate in. Likewise, Dave may initially feel like a cipher though which the audience gets to know Alena, but he soon comes into his own – a man who remains decent no matter what horrendous things he has thrown at him. They are quite a pair, and their company is very enjoyable – although at times it is hard to see how on earth their relationship can survive, small differences swiftly shifting into divides that appear insurmountable.

This is not just modern fiction – it is current, the themes of immigration, exploitation and poverty can be seen in the papers every single day. By weaving in a compelling narrative, recognisable characters and a tender yet real and flawed love story, author Kerry Hudson has really achieved something remarkable in this, her second novel. Many thanks to the publishers for the copy.

For further reading, I would recommend Ghosting by Jonathan Kemp. Another love story, yet one that is made up of completely different components, exploring issues such as aging and sexuality whilst a compelling narrative and a strong lead keep the pages turning.

Buy Thirst by Kerry Hudson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Thirst by Kerry Hudson at

Buy Thirst by Kerry Hudson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Thirst by Kerry Hudson at


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