It takes a man of understanding to rebuild a shattered soul, a man with a deep and learned grasp of philosophy and poetry, a man who can nurture and inspire an enquiring mind, a man with the wit and humour to bring the world alive. 

That enigmatic man is Horatio Hennessy. His grandson Blue is that shattered soul. 

#AManOfUnderstanding #DianaJanney @RKbookpublicist #RandomThingsTours @annecater @RandomTTours #blogtour

Following the death of twelve-year-old Blue’s parents, his new home is a Finca in the mountains of Mallorca, with the grandfather he has never met before. But is Horatio up to the challenge, or is he merely trying, through Blue, to make good his past?  Gradually a bond evolves between them through a shared love of poetry. 

But when secrets are uncovered, will understanding turn to misunderstanding?  Will two souls be shattered this time? 

Absorbing, moving, witty and profound, A Man of Understanding is a beautifully-told story of the search for a higher understanding of the self and others, interlaced with poetry, philosophy and love.

My Review

Blue and Granga – this is the story of a twelve-year-old boy who has lost both his parents in a car accident, and his grandfather Horatio Hennessey. Rufus Ellerton has gone to Mallorca to stay with his Granga, an elderly man he has never met. A man who decides to call him Blue, like the sky.

As soon as Blue arrives at Granga’s Finca in the mountains, they are off to Morocco and then to the South of France. It’s an exciting whirlwind and wherever they go, everyone seems to know Horatio.

Then one day, while staying in France, Blue finds a book of poems called Verses of a Solitary Fellow by Horatio R Hennessey. These are Granga’s poems.

‘I opened the book at the first page. Five words marked the Dedication: To Sophia, my beloved wife.’

And so begins the relationship between Blue and Granga. It’s not always an easy one and there were times I wanted to bang their heads together. Granga talks, philosophises, teaches Blue about poetry, good food and Aristotle and the Golden Mean. But in reality he says nothing to make Blue feel wanted or loved. And Blue often reacts annoyingly, but I have to remember he’s only twelve. Sometimes I think Granga forgets as well.

I’d love to live in their village in Mallorca. The beautiful weather, the sea, the wonderful food and the freedom. But is it the right place for a boy who needs an education? Or would he be better off at boarding school?

My favourite part of the book apart from the poems which alone deserve 5 stars, is the part where Blue meets twelve sheep in a field. He talks to them like they are dogs or fluffy people. Then at Granga’s birthday barbeque, they have lamb and Blue is overcome with emotion. As a vegetarian, I understand how he feels. Have they eaten one of his new friends? Will there only be eleven sheep in the field tomorrow? I’ll leave you to find out.

This book could have been pretentious, snobby and aimed at a reader with an MA in philosophy at least to understand it, let alone appreciate its beauty. But it isn’t. You don’t need to like poetry (though I do) or have read Aristotle or Kant (I haven’t) to love it. It’s just beautiful and it made me cry.

Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours

About the Author

DIANA JANNEY is the author of the novels The Choice and The Infinite Wisdom of Harriet Rose, which has been translated into four languages (Spanish, German, Dutch, Portuguese), produced as an audiobook by the BBC, and the film rights were sold to a British film company. Formerly she practised as a barrister in London after having qualified as a solicitor at a leading City of London international law firm. She read Philosophy at University College, London, where she received a First for her Masters thesis on Kant and Hume, and three Scholarships. Diana has received international acclaim for her writing, which combines her philosophical knowledge with her wit, poetry and keen observation of human nature.

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