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Adrian's Journey -bookcover

By: Alison Cooper

Adrian's Journey

Pages: 462 Ratings: 3.9
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Join Adrian on his journey from easy-going teenager through to manhood, as he searches for his birth mother. Where is she? Why did she abandon him? Adrian's Journey begins with scenes in England from his comfortable family life and his activities with his fellow first year university students. But the focus moves inexorably to the twists and turns of Adrian's quest as he grapples with life's complexity, juggling its demands, and with his experiences in colourful and troubled Beirut. Adrian's Journey is not only a tale of a young man trying to discover the identity of his biological mother; it is also a reflection of the human condition, and of how people are shaped by their experiences in life. Readers may identify with the questions asked and the decisions made, yet the story is far from predictable in its course and outcome. Compelling yet familiar, Adrian's Journey will hold the reader's interest until the very last page.  

Alison Cooper started writing fiction at the age of 62, after a long career in academic research administration. Her final position before retirement was at the Leverhulme Trust where she worked for thirteen years. Her first novel, The Rapallo Legacy, was published in November 2009.

Adrian's Journey is a story based loosely on the family circumstances of a friend, adapted and altered for the actions in the novel.

Alison has a degree in Chinese and French, a working knowledge of Italian, and enough German and Spanish to read essential notices. In 1977-78 she spent nine months as a student in Beijing. Now living in London and Italy, she enjoys classical music and jazz, (in the past she played the timpani, the viola, and the piano, and even conducted a little), collecting Chinese stamps, ballroom and Latin dancing, and gardening, about which she knows very little.


Customer Reviews
9 reviews
9 reviews
  • Patrick Power

    This is a most enjoyable read, well structured and with a compelling narrative. The author combines thoughtful descriptions of very varied people and places in a way which takes the story forward at a satisfying pace. As the notes to the book suggest it is both an actual and figurative journey for the subject, Adrian. Beginning with his caring and generous home environment he expands through his University course(s) and builds up his wish to establish his biological inheritance, leading to his challenging experiences in the Lebanon and the resolution of his "journey".
    The way in which the fractured and somewhat unstable state of things in Lebanon is set out demonstrates a close understanding of cultural clashes which are part of our everyday experiences in Britain and this adds to the credibility of the story The denouement of the tale indicates the "journey" for Adrian was so much more than a conventional quest..
    I can recommend this book wholeheartedly.

  • Doreen Shafran

    Adrian is undaunted by the difficulties involved in tracing his birth mother. The search takes him to Lebanon under the guidance of the author who leads us expertly through his many experiences, and describes Adrian's personal journey from teenage student to wiser young man. We are carried along by the plot; it is a well observed and beautifully written novel.

  • Barbara

    This story is a real page turner; you just want to know how it is all going to turn out. I certainly couldn't guess how it would all end and, yes, it is good to have an Epilogue to see how things work out for the main characters. The middle Eastern background is also very interesting, something I knew very little about.

  • Phil Barker

    Ten out of ten for a near perfect book! Alison Cooper is an excellent story teller so the reader is immediately drawn in, with all the characters believable and well described, along with plentiful action and variations in the interesting plot.

    At the end there is a splendid addition to the story in the form of an Epilogue that gives a potted history of the future lives of all the main characters. This comes after a book that was superbly crafted, and worked its way through to a very satisfactory conclusion.

    A thoroughly good read!

  • Martin P

    Like the musician that she is, Alison Cooper's Adrian's Journey has a symphonic structure. The First Movement (roughly the first third of the book) introduces the characters and themes that underpin the story. We meet Adrian, the product of a very happy childhood and adolescence, as he is about to leave home for university. For the first time he learns that he has been adopted into his loving family. While initially taking this news in his stride, he in fact becomes more and more obsessed about the identity of his real mother, and where she might now be living. The only clue as to her whereabouts is an old address in Beirut which his adoptive father has now passed on to Adrian. Adrian is going to study Chinese at the School of African and Oriental Studies in London. He uses friends and contacts there, both to help him start learning some basic Arabic and to meet officials and other who might assist him in tracking his mother down.
    The Second Movement of the book takes Adrian to the Lebanon, where he has decided he must go if he is to have any chance of running his birth mother to ground. This is the longest part of the book. It provides a truly gripping account of the various avenues he has to explore to achieve his objective, in which the volatile and dangerous world that is modern day Lebanon leads Adrian into great and unexpected danger.
    There is a short final coda in which the author, rather touchingly, describes what happens to Adrian and his friends in the years after this pivotal stage in his life.
    The book is very well written. In particular, the Lebanon section is extremely strong, not just for the excitement of the story, but because it illustrates and explains the confused and tragic political situation in which the Lebanon finds itself. An excellent read, which would be the basis for a thrilling movie.

  • Ciocco

    This is an enjoyable book, sometimes thrilling, and a good read. It is well constructed, with a gripping plot and the characters are well described. I had some difficulty in identifying with Adrian, who is not able to balance the advantages of his home circumstances against the disruption he causes in his search for his birth mother.

    Overall, it is very much worth reading, and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

  • Jackie

    I enjoyed reading the book although it took a little time to really get into it. The author was observant and adept at writing her characters, their environments and interactions with one another. Her details of surroundings, personalities, clothing and food for example were clearly drawn. However, I feel certain parts at the beginning of the story were sometimes bland and not always necessary to the plot. As the pace developed her descriptions of life and people in Beirut and the traumas endured by Adrian in search of his birth-mother, and subsequently himself, were finely and sympathetically written.

    One felt involved with the characters and warmth towards Adrian as he developed and matured through his experiences into a courageous and likeable man.

  • Peter Williams

    Adrian’s Journey is Alison Cooper’s second book and deserves to be widely read (and, indeed, turned into a film). It is in essence a Quest Novel, with the young hero, Adrian, seeking the whereabouts of his biological mother Patti, who may or may not live in Beirut. The trials and tribulations faced by Adrian in his quest are told through a fast-paced and gripping narrative that takes the reader into the darker corners (literally) of the Middle Eastern conflict. He emerges sadder and wiser, but optimistic and well-prepared to take his place as a citizen in today’s complex international society.

    The book also has other quests to pursue. Adrian’s adoptive family, sympathetically drawn and in many ways admirable, strive to come to terms with his journey away from them and their slightly offbeat domesticity in rural Suffolk; his horizons are expanding and his experiences broaden the questions he asks about life, rather to their concern. Moreover, the novel starts as Adrian begins his undergraduate life at SOAS in 2000, registered on a course in Chinese (though he quickly gravitates towards Arabic). His group of friends in London provides him with a multi-national and multicultural social setting which creates its own convincing account of student lives and loves, hopes and fears, achievements and failures. These characters are strongly, if not deeply, drawn and offer (to this reader at least) an engaging counterpoint to the main thrust of the story, Adrian’s visits to Beirut, an ambiguous city of mystery, violence and moral confusion.

    There is much to enjoy in this book. The dialogue is generally convincing, if occasionally a little dated, even for 2000; the plots are skilfully constructed and intertwined; and the pages turn themselves. We want to know what happens next. I have one reservation: the book ends with a brief Epilogue which details the future CV of each key character. Although other reviewers have applauded this coda, I should have preferred the future to remain the future not least because, as with all good fiction, it is implicit in the characterisations that are developed in the body of the novel. While my advice is not to read the Epilogue, I’m sure few readers will want to resist it. But do read Adrian’s Journey - it’s a worthwhile destination.

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