Whisky Charlie Foxtrot, by Annabel Smith

It is less than twenty-four hours since Charlie received the phone call from his mother and in those hours his only thought has been that Whisky must not die. He must not die becuse he, Charlie, needs more time. He and Whisky have not been friends, have not talked or laughed together for months, years. But he has never thought it will end like this. He has always thought there will be time.

Whisky and Charlie might be identical twins, but that doesn’t mean they like each other. In fact, Charlie can’t even bear to talk to Whisky. But now Whisky lies shattered in a hospital bed, in a coma from which he may not wake, and Charlie gradually comes to realise that there are things he should have said, which may be now left unsaid.

Whisky Charlie Foxtrot is a moving tale of sibling rivalry, of the complexity of family relationships and of identity. Charlie is likable though flawed protagonist, who has long seen himself as living in his brother’s shadow. As his brother lies in hospital he must confront his own flaws as well as setting aside those he has long perceived in his brother.

Told in third person with shifts between the present and various past events, the reader is privileged to gradually learn more about Charlie, Whisky and their troubled relationship in a story that is heartwarming, funny and very moving. Aimed at an adult readership, it will also be enjoyed by older teens, with focus on the brothers’ childhood and teen years.

Whisky Charlie Foxtrot, by Annabel Smith
Fremantle Press, 2012
ISBN 9781922089144

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