Through his new novel The Half-Life of Hannah, English writer Nick Alexander aims to describe and challenge the notion that it is never too late to make different choices and fulfil the dreams that you once dreamt. The novel follows Hannah and her family as they go on vacation in the south of France. The vacation is supposed to be a relaxing supplement to Hannah’s already comfortable life with her husband and cherished son, but it is interrupted when a lover from the past shows up unexpectedly.
Hannah used to dream about adventure, passion and excitement, but now, at 38 years old, she considers those musings unrealistic. However, as the story progresses Hannah realises that she does not have to settle with less then what life could offer. Unfortunately, she realizes this in an unoriginal and predictable way. In spite of the author’s attempt to include some exciting plot twists, he spoils the outcome of the novel by describing the characters too thoroughly at the beginning of the book. The twists of the plot and the following actions are boringly expected.
Looking back at your life and wondering whether you should have chosen differently is a notion we all encounter at some point in our life. It is therefore surprising that Nick Alexander presents a main character who does this so dispassionately. Unsurprisingly and easily anticipated, Hannah does leave her old life behind at the end, but this is not a result of an insightful character development which defeats Alexander’s attempt to write a novel about following your heart. Rather, the plot could not have ended in any other way.
On the other hand, the book is a page-turner as it is an easy and entertaining read. However, this is not due to Alexander´s writing as he falls short of portraying a potentially thought-evoking story with any depth.