editor's choice




It feels fitting to review Together on this day, 12 April 2021, when the world, or at least our little part of it, begins to open up again, easing our return we hope to a better, brighter, safer and healthier new world. We hope. And that’s what Luke Adam Hawker and Marianne Laidlaw’s beautiful, mindful book is all about. Hope.

Focusing on our pandemic world, Together is a very clever tome indeed, managing to go without referencing the pandemic at all. Instead here, a storm drives everyone inside, leading to uncertainty and fear.


‘Dark clouds were looming in the distance.

We watched them gather and we wondered …

When will it come? How long will it last?


The streets empty and quiet becomes noise, fear unkindness, isolation loneliness. Sound familiar? And we, humanity, have to find a path forward.

And we do.


Former architectural designer Hawker’s monochrome drawings slice through Laidlaw’s words, showing us an all too familiar world in which fear and distrust eventually give way to a better brighter dawn, in which heroes shine and humankind recognises that there’s another way forward, a different path to the one we followed before. It’s a literary ‘stop and smell the roses’ wake-up call.

A curiously unsentimental yet poignant read – poignant because it’s all too true – Together is a lovely book in every way. Beautifully produced, graphically illustrated by Hawker, with simple, pared back language that cuts to the heart of things, it reminds us of Charlie Mackesy’s gorgeous The Boy, The Mole, the Fox and the Horse, one of our favourite books of 2019/20.

Like Mackesy’s title, Together is a book of our time, a chronicle of what has happened and how we can be, stronger through unity.

It’s not just the perfect gift for our loved ones, but the perfect present to ourselves.

Why? Because we really are worth it. All of us.

Highly, highly recommended.


Together | Luke Adam Hawker | Kyle Books

| hardback | £16.99 | 18 March 2021 |

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Acknowledgements: Book text © Marianne Laidlaw. This review is published as part of the publisher virtual book tour. Many thanks to lovely Anne Cater for arranging it and to the publisher for sending a review copy and the above jacket image. All views expressed are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other great reviewers on the tour.

See also:Charlie Mackesy and the importance of touch’; ‘Song: the odyssey of an immigrant’; ‘Anita Nair’s Bangalore detective Borei Gowda‘;’Michael Connelly’s epic hero, Mickey Haller‘;‘Chris Whitaker’s small-town America’; ‘Damian Barr’s slice of South Africa’; ‘Nora Roberts’ Sanctuary: an Old Familiar’; By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Remembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

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