Nightingale Point – Luan Goldie

Nightingale Point follows the tales of five characters living in a tower block in London, with each chapter told from an alternate point of view.

Mary has a secret life that no one knows about, not even Malachi and Tristan, the brothers she vowed to look after. Following the death of his mother, Malachi had to grow up too quickly. Between looking after Tristan and nursing a broken heart, he feels older than his twenty-one years. Tristan wishes Malachi would stop pining for Pamela. He’s falling in with the wrong crowd, and needs Malachi to keep him straight. Elvis is trying hard to remember to the instructions his care worker gave him, but sometimes he gets confused and forgets things. Pamela wants to run back to Malachi but her overprotective father has locked her in and there’s no way out.

Then their lives are transformed as plane crashes into the block of flats they call home, causing devastation. Who has survived? How do they cope? Why is life so unfair? How will their relationships change? All this is explored in Luan Goldie’s debut novel.

She was inspired to write Nightingale Point when in Amsterdam a taxi driver told her the true story about a cargo plane that took off from Schiphol Airport and crashed into a council estate It’s based on the Bijlmer plane crash in October 1992, and the Grenfell Tower disaster, and echoes of the aftermath of both play out in the book. But it doesn’t ever feel gratuitous, helped by a cast of likeable and flawed characters. It’s an easy read with tight prose and a pacy plot, probably helped by Luan’s experience of writing short stories. She won the 2017 Costa Short Story Award.

It’s a touching read and acts as a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives in Amsterdam and London.

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