The Ninth Life of Louis Drax by Liz Jensen - review by David Self

David Self

A Prince of Infinite Space

The Ninth Life of Louis Drax

By

Bloomsbury 228pp £16.99 order from our bookshop
 

ONLY THREE PEOPLE know how nine-year-old Louis Drax came to fall down a mountain ravine in the Auvergne. 'Of those, one could never know the full truth. One was hiding from it. And the third was dead.' From this starting point, Liz Jensen develops a compelling tale of suspense and detection, largely set in the coma clinic in Provence where Louis lies - having originally been certified as dead. In fact he has miraculously survived the accident, just as he survived eight earlier ones, including his apparent cot death, falling onto the electrified tracks of the Lyon metro, and salmonella.

He is (or was) a hyper-intelligent and precocious boy, given to eating his mother's contraceptive pills, killing hamsters called Mohammed and discussing whether adults 'sex each other': no wonder his parents sent him to a psychiatrist (whom he then taunted). As he now lies comatose, his voice is one of

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