Held Up begins one second after the hijack. The reader is introduced to how life is - violence and mistrust are common experiences. One minute after the hijack, Paul is reflecting on how difficult Chantal’s conception was and how he felt at her birth. One hour afterwards he tells his wife, Claire (having waited for the police and then related everything at the station). From this moment on, the reader is caught up in the pain and grief of Paul’s journey – the changes experienced as a direct result as well as trying to find a place to belong … until a resolution, eleven years later.
You do need full concentration and a good level of vocabulary. At times, I did find the words getting in the way of the flow of my reading. I did enjoy the way the author varied the sentence structure.
The story itself is very powerful and allows the reader a glimpse into another culture. The emotional aspect is portrayed really well. The reader finds themselves caught up in the deep and dark abyss and learning how to live with a wound that is so raw. We do find out the reason why it was not just Paul’s white 318i BMW that was the attraction. Myths are still prevalent in parts of the world.
Held Up is not a light read. It’s not one of those books you can take off your shelf at random. Personally I think you need to be in the right frame of mind to be able to do the story justice.
*Note: There is swearing which some readers may find offensive*
I read Held Up as part of the Real Readers programme