Signs of Life by Anna Raverat MacMillan (e-book) There's something going on with writers and memory: John O'Farrell's excellent comic novel about amnesia The Man Who Forgot His Wife, for example, or S.J. Watson's best-selling Before I Go to Sleep. Anna Raverat's first novel also examines a love affair through a fractured act of remembrance. Our narrator is Rachel. Her tale is not a confession, she confesses, nor is it reliable: 'Here's the story: there are holes in it.' Like S.J. Bolton's heroine, Rachel has scraps of information in journals, letters and notebooks. These show that a decade earlier, she 'kissed Carl' which didn't so much spark an affair (Anna lives with the understandably annoyed Johnny) as 'reveal' it to her. Signs of Life is full of this sort of sombre, po-faced profundity. Rachel quotes endlessly from willowy poetry (Sylvia Plath, Stevie Smith), the tone of which infects her prose: 'This movement between passion and play was the best ... the humour would give way to tenderness and then the tenderness would grow edgy, and it made the sex bigger, somehow.' Made the sex bigger? Somehow? Signs of Life isn't all bad but I didn't especially like Carl or Rachel (or Johnny) so didn't care how this story unravelled.