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The Hours by Michael Cunningham: Absolute Perfection

Is there a more exquisite novel than The Hours by Michael Cunningham? Its premise is ingenious, the prose beautifully nuanced and its trio of female characters deftly and cleverly intertwined. I loved the film version but to say I adored the book is an understatement.

In The Hours, Cunningham weaves together the lives of three women separated by decades and geography, telling their story through the events of just one day for each person.

In June 1923, Virginia Woolf wrestles with the opening of her new novel. Her working title is The Hours ( it will be published as Mrs Dalloway.) She persuades her husband that her feelings of depression will be eased by relinquishing their Richmond country life for the hubbub of London. 

In 1949, Sally Brown, a young wife and mother fights her own feelings of despair at the monotony of her life in a Los Angeles suburb. She makes a cake for her husband’s birthday, leaves her son with a childminder and escapes to a hotel to read Mrs Dalloway. 

On a summer’s day in 1990, Clarissa Vaughan steps out of her Greenwich village apartment. She “has flowers to buy and a party to give.” It will be a celebration for her ex lover Richard who has won a prestigious poetry prize. 

Party. Flowers. Clarissa. Sound familiar? 

We are of course in the realm of Mrs Dalloway with a re-enactment of its famous opening line: 

Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.

Cunningham’s section on Virginia Woolf in fact comes to an end with Woolf writing that very sentence. And its how he begins the section focused on Mrs Brown as she lies on her bed reading, what else but Mrs Dalloway. 

This is one of the many connections Cunningham makes to Woolf’s novel and to its author. If you know the original book, you could easily spend a few hours picking up on the references.

As an example. Woolf has her character startled by the sound of a car backfiring as she walks through the streets of London. She thinks she spots someone famous in the car: “Was it the Prince of Wales’s, the Queen’s, the Prime Minister’s?” In The Hours, Clarissa (who by the way is nicknamed Mrs Dalloway by Richard) is distracted by a loud noise from a film set. And then she spots someone famous emerging from a trailer “Meryl Streep? Vanessa Redgrave?”

Homage to Virginia Woolf

Recognising these allusions is great fun but Cunningham isn’t using them simply to show off his intimate knowledge with the text of Mrs Dalloway. His book isn’t a re-creation of the earlier work but more of a homage to Woolf’s examination of one woman and how she questions her capacity for to be happy.

The inter-textuality is impressive but so too is the use of imagery and metaphor throughout The Hours. The yellow flowers Virginia Woolf places around the grave of a small bird, are echoed in the yellow flowers Laura Brown ices onto her cake and the blossoms bought by Clarissa’s lover.

Throughout the book we’re treated to some beautifully nuanced and unforgettable scenes. Laura’s afternoon escape to a Los Angeles hotel; Virginia’s ritual burial of a small bird and Clarissa’s anguish when she witnesses Richard’s death.

Struggle to Find Meaning

Every woman’s life is delicately examined, showing them striving to find meaning in their lives. If I had to pick a favourite it would be Laura Brown, a woman torn between her deep love for her son and her resentment against the confining nature of motherhood and marriage. She tries hard to be the perfect wife, putting on a false face of happiness in front of her son, but deep down is is desperately unhappy.

Reading for her is not about losing herself or escaping from her reality, but about discovering her true nature. She knows she should be getting started with her daily chores but instead she settles back against the pillows.

One more page, she decides, just one more. … She will permit herself another minute here, in bed, before entering the day. She will allow herself just a little more time. She is taken by a wave of feeling, a sea-swell, that rises from under her breast and buoys her, floats her gently, as if she were a sea creature thrown back from the sand where it had beached itself – as if she had been returned from a realm of crushing gravity to her true medium, the suck and swell of saltwater, that weightless brilliance.

Isn’t this a tremendous illustration of the transformative power of reading?

I could go on at length about the multiple ways in which I was enthralled by The Hours. But I don’t want to bore you all so I’ll just say that this is fiction at its best, a story of humanity related insightfully and sensitively. Simply superb.

Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami [book review]

Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is not a book for people who prefer unambiguity in their reading material. This is Haruki Murakami’s thirteenth novel and not only is it filled with an enigmatic character and his obscure dreams, but the ending leaves his future unresolved.

The character in question is a young man whose life is haunted by a great loss in his adolescent years. Tsukuru Tazaki is a 36-year-old railway engineer with an abiding passion for train stations. He can sit for hours in a station watching the ebb and flow of passengers and the rhythm of train arrivals and departures.

His is an empty life. After work he retreats either to a train station or to his apartment where he listens to music. He has no friends and all his relationships with women have come to nothing. He feels as if the real Tsukuru Tazaki passed away years earlier, leaving only a shell:

… a container that for the sake of convenience was labelled with the same name – but its contents had been replaced.

It was not always so. In his high school years, he had been part of a close-knit quintet; an “orderly, harmonious community” of two girls, three boys. They did everything together, wanting no other friends to disturb their harmony.

Until one day during Tsukuru’s second year in college when those friends abruptly cut all relationships with him. No warning. No explanation. No room for compromise. Just silence. The ostracism left him feeling suicidal, then guilty “as an empty person, lacking in colour and identity.”

Quest For Truth

Now sixteen years later his new girlfriend, Sara Kimoto, encourages him to come face-to-face with the past, to seek out his former friends to mend the relationships and discover why they rejected him. She won’t commit to a relationship with Tsukuru unless he can move past that issue. And so he goes on a pilgrimage to track down those friends and discover the truth.

This is only the second novel I’ve read by Haruki Murakami. I’ve avoided him largely because his novels are frequently surrealistic  and contain large doses of magical realism. more minimalist novels. But Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage attracted me because it sounded more in the style of Norwegian Wood which I loved.

Like so much of Japanese fiction this novel contains themes of alienation and loneliness, embedded into an atmosphere of loss and longing.

Tsukuru is an intelligent, respected in his career and comfortably well off but there is a huge gap in his life. Not only did he lose is school friends, but the college friend who helped him deal with the loss suddenly disappears. Tsukuru as a result feels “fated to always be alone”

He is a man who doesn’t seem fully connected to the world. I don’t mean that he is “other worldly” in a sense of coming from an imaginary universe. He just exists on the fringe of a real and whole life.

The Colourless Outsider

As a young boy he was puzzled why his four friends wanted to be his pals. He was the only member of the group who didn’t have a colour as part of his surname. He didn’t have a striking personality nor any qualities or talents that made him stand out. In fact “everything about him was middling, pallid, lacking in colour.” Towards the end of the novel, Tsukuru realises that he lives “as if he were a refugee from his own life”.

I loved the melancholic atmosphere and found Tsukuru a deeply affecting character. It was hard not to sympathise with his feelings of bewilderment when his friends cut him dead and refuse any explanation. We can all imagine the pain of suddenly being abandoned by people who were once your closest friends, people who now treat you as if you never existed.

You hope that by the end of his pilgrimage to his home town and to Finland, that his quest for the truth will bring him happiness. But Murakami leaves us dangling with the kind of ending that is open to interpretation. The final scene has a real emotional pull but tantalisingly we don’t know whether Tsukuru does finally gain some colour in his life.

Souls Lost Through Books In The Binding By Bridget Collins [Review]

Words Book Review with image of front cover of The Binding by Bridget Collins

The Binding is based on a markedly original idea about memories and books.

Bridget Collins imagines a world in which you engage the services of a book binder and whatever was causing you distress or pain can be erased from your memory. Your most traumatic memories are bound between the covers of a book and wiped clean away. 

It sounds like the perfect cure but Bridget Collins shows us there are two problems with binding.

The first is that the people whose memories are erased are not made whole again by their binding. It’s so complete a cleansing process that it leaves the participants as mere shells of their former selves. It takes away not just their memories but the essence of their character. They are no longer themselves.  

For the young apprentice binder Emmett Farmer the moment of binding wrenches out the deepest part of a person, leaving a hole in its place.

Which was worse? To feel nothing, or to grieve for something you no longer remembered? Surely when you forgot, you’d forget to be sad, or what was the point? And yet that numbness would take part of your self away, it would be like pins and needles in your soul…

What he comes to learn troubles him even more deeply. Memories, he discovers, can be stolen, treated as a commodity just like sugar or soap and sold for amusement and profit by manipulative, powerful figures.

Bridget Collins reveals a world of exploitation in which members of the aristocracy use bindings to hide their abuse of female servants.

… when they leave they’re sucked dry, bound for the last time so they don’t remember anything, they’ll deny he ever touched them, they’ll tell everyone he’s a lovely man, delightful, and if every anyone tries to do something to stop him … He laughs, because he’s safe.

Beauty And Evil Of Books

Within the world of The Binding, books are things of beauty, covered in black velvet inlaid with pearls or bound in silk and shimmering like silver. But what they contain is powerful and evil, the people reading them dangerous.

This is a book about books both as objects of desire and as objects of abomination because they are written by people “who enjoy imagining misery … people who have no scruples about dishonesty.” .

It was this idea that kept me reading The Binding. It more than compensated for the rather uninspired romance between Emmett and a gentleman’s son that formed the bulk of the novel’s second and third sections.

The book starts strongly with Emmett, the teenage son of a farmer, apprenticed to Seredith, an old binder who lives on the edge of a marsh. Just as he is settling into his new life and learning his trade, he makes a discovery – one of the books in her bindery vault bears his name.

It’s just one of the many things in his life he doesn’t understand: why did his family feel he had brought disgrace to their home? Why was he so ill before he moved to the bindery? And why does he feel hatred towards Lucian Darnay, a boy his own age who arrives at Seredith’s home one day.

The answers are provided in the second section which winds back to a time when Emmett and his sister develop a strong friendship with Lucian Darnay. After the atmospheric and intriguing first section, part two was a big disappointment.

It was essentially a retelling of a well-known theme of initial aversion that becomes affection and eventually turns into love. I wasn’t surprised to discover later that Bridget Collins had previously focused on young adult fiction and The Binding is her first foray into adult fiction. I would happily have traded this romance in for more time in the company of Seredith, serene amid the russet and ochre- tiled workshop smelling of saffron and glue.

Fortunately the book perks back up with the final section which takes the story of Emmett and Lucian’s relationship into the future and in which we learn the truth about bindings.

This is a strong debut novel, written with pace and memorable imagery. With a few tweaks (to more fully realise Emmett’s sister for example) it would have been a knock out.

The Binding by Bridget Collins: EndNotes

Bridget Collins has written seven books for young adults and has had two plays produced, one at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 

She was inspired to write her first adult novel, The Binding because of her work as a volunteer with The Samaritans. Faced with stories of pain and heartache she began to wonder what would happen if she could take the memory of the painful experiences away from them, leaving them to begin again. 

In parallel she took a course in bookbinding. In an interview published on the Foyles blog, she said she was immediately seduced by the process:

… by the processes, the materials – the coloured papers, gold, leather, beeswax, silk – and the tools, which are made of wood and bone and metal. It was all wonderfully tactile, with a sort of subtle glamour that made me imagine another, older, world..

The Binding was published in Jan 2019 by Borough Press, an imprint of HarperCollins,

With thanks to the Borough Press and NetGalley for a review copy. 

The Age Of Innocence By Edith Wharton: Masterful Exposé Of A Stifling Society

Cover ofThe Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

I’m kicking myself for leaving The Age Of Innocence by Edith Wharton unread for so many years. This masterpiece of storytelling and characterisation has lingered on my “owned but unread” bookshelves for well over five years. I dug it out purely because it was the only book I own that fitted the brief for the 1920 book club hosted by Karen of KaggsysBookishRamblings and Simon of StuckInABook. 

Why haven’t I got around to reading this book earlier?

The answer is simple. My experience with another of Wharton’s much-praised novels, House of Mirth, coloured my judgement. I couldn’t get into that book at all, finding it rather uninspiring. I was afraid The Age of Innocence might be a repeat of that experience. 

How wrong could I be? 

The Age of Innocence is a tremendous study about a society that is completely bound up with rules and codes of behaviour.

Today we think of New York as a city of ceaseless energy, a melting pot of cultures, ideas and backgrounds. But in the 1870s it was a city where the ‘establishment’ of rich and powerful, live in a structured world of complex values and unwritten codes. These people reject anyone – and anything – who dares to change the status quo.

Wear the wrong dress to the opera. Dine at any time other than 7pm. Get married too soon after the engagement and before the requisite number of visits to “the Family.” Blatantly engage in extra-marital affairs. All such transgressions of the accepted order can result in the offending party being ostracised.

Edith Wharton examines this society and its constraining effects through the character of Newland Archer, a cultured young man who is a bit of a catch in the marriage stakes. He likes to think of himself as a non-conformist “distinctly the superior of these chosen specimens of old New York”. Yet he lives very much governed by the codes of his class.

A]n unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that the German text of French operas sung by Swedish artists should be translated into Italian for the clearer understanding of English-speaking audiences. This seemed as natural to Newland Archer as all the other conventions on which his life was molded: such as the duty of using two silver-backed brushes with his monogram in blue enamel to part his hair, and of never appearing in society without a flower (preferably a gardenia) in his buttonhole.

The plot of the novel revolves around this tension in his life.

When the novel opens he is about to be engaged to May Welland, an acknowledged beauty from an esteemed family. He envisages she will fully blossom under his guiding hand. Though he loves her grace, her horsemanship and skills at games, his intent is to coach her to a greater appreciation of literature and art. Together he plans, they will travel and be unconventional.

But frustrated by May’s lack of independent action, her refusal to speed up the betrothal time or to elope with him, he comes to view her as “a terrifying product of the social system he belonged to.”

His eyes are opened wider by the arrival into his life of a distinctly unconventional woman, Countess Ellen Olenska. As a young girl she had been educated in Europe. Instead of the ‘proper’ lessons of needlework and etiquette, she had learned life drawing with nude models. She married a fabulously wealthy count Olenska, but when he turned out to be a bore, she left him.

The Countess has now returned to New York City., cutting a glamorous though controversial sway through its stuffy circles. Much tut tutting ensues because she chooses to live in a bohemian neighbourhood alongside artists and writers, goes to parties hosted by women deemed “common” women and – horror of horror – scatters flowers around instead of arranging them neatly in vases.

Newland falls in love with her and her spirit of independence. The feeling is reciprocated. But there’s a problem – she is still married and he is engaged to another woman.

The Age of Innocence follows the course of this love triangle. Will true love prevail or are Ellen/Newland destined to be forever apart? I’m not going to tell you because it will spoil your enjoyment of reading this novel and especially the haunting final chapter.

Newland Archer is an expertly rendered character. He feels utterly trapped, driven to “inarticulate despair” by a marriage (he does go through with the wedding) to a woman he finds boring and a life he has accepted out of “habit and honour.”

In one key scene, he is at home with his wife. As he regards May he is dismayed to recognise she is “ripening into a copy of her mother”, becoming a woman who would “never, in the all the years that lay ahead, surprise him with an unexpected mood, a new idea, a weakness, a cruelty or an emotion.” In despair he throws open the window.

After he had leaned out into the darkness for a few minutes he heard her say: “Newland! Do shut the window. You’ll catch your death.
He pulled the sash down and turned back. “Catch my death!” he echoed; and he felt like adding. “But I’ve caught it already – I am dead. I’ve been dead for months and months.”

If May represents death and constraint, the Countess is life. She holds out the promise of a relationship filled with passion, drama and a world of possibilities. But where Newland seems ready to reject everything he believes America stands for, Ellen sees there is much in American culture that is worth keeping. She values its fairness, honesty, integrity, and a respect for others.

These two women are frequently shown as opposites. In the first scene for example which takes place at the opera house, May is corseted in virginal white with a “modest tulle tucker” to disguise her breasts. Ellen shocks the patrons by arriving in a revealing Empire style dress which draws attention to her bosom. Innocence versus experience clearly in this setting but I think this is rather too simplistic an interpretation of May. Throughout the novel she shows her self to be an artful player, cleverly manipulating her husband and his lover yet never showing her hand.

I loved the way Edith Wharton shows the conflict between his desire for a new way of life, and the reality. Wharton makes him a figure of ridicule, a daydreamer who is seldom able to realise his dreams. He talks passionately about breaking away from convention yet when the opportunity arises for him to revel, he bottles out.

The Countess provides the colour and energy of the novel. a woman for whom we are meant to feel empathy. Like Newland Archer she is caught in a trap between her desire for independence from a loveless marriage and the pressure of her family to avoid the social stigma of a divorce. It’s a powerful illustration of Wharton’s key themes of entrapment and the lifeless nature of a society that was ignorant its reign was coming to an end.

The Age of Innocence was a glorious book to read. What a fantastic way to bring my ClassicsClub project to an end!. This experience with Wharton’s novel has encouraged me to have another go at The House of Mirth. I fear I may have misjudged it.

An Unforgettable Tale: One Moonlit Night by Caradog Prichard

One Moonlit Night by Caradog Pritchard

Poverty, sickness and hard labour stalk a Welsh village community in Caradog Prichard’s award-winning novel One Moonlit Night. This is the reality of life in a small slate quarrying community as seen through the eyes of a young boy. But though there is also sadness and tragedy, there is also joy; the first sight of the sea; an entire community united in song and a raucous football match.

One Moonlit Night was written as a portrayal of a way of life known intimately by Carodog Prichard. North Wales is where he was born and lived most of his life with his widowed mother, just as his narrator does.

I think that’s why the book has such a strong sense of the child’s love for the village and its inhabitants. Pritchard’s narrator knows every inhabitant and how they are related. He knows too every inch of his village; each street and lane being but a playground for him and his best friends Huw and Moi.

They’re full of curiosity these boys; forever asking questions and wanting to stay out late so they don’t miss anything exciting. They’re also an adventurous trio, exploring the surrounding hills and lakes and always on the look out for fun even if it’s just picking wild berries on the mountainside or passing on the latest gossip.

Shadows Of Reality

Yet their exuberance doesn’t mask the darker reality of their lives. In just the first chapter the narrator encounters an epileptic fit, suicide, illicit sex in the woods, and domestic violence. These don’t cause the boys any deep anxiety however; a sign perhaps that they are such common place occurrences they don’t warrant any commentary.

At one point for example they hear Moi’s mother scream. One boy asks if they should fetch the local policemen only for Moi to reply: “No, there’s no need for that. He won’t do anything to her. They’re always like that.” Their innate curiosity takes over so they inch closer to the door, to find Moi’s mother fighting with his uncle; one armed with a bread knife, the other with a tuck knife. Minutes later they’re all sitting around scoffing bread and butter as if nothing untoward had occurred.

Shadows of Hardship and War

These are kids whose lives are framed by hunger and hardship. The first World War has cast its shadow on the village, creating heroes but also bringing death. The boys go to school but know their childhood will not last much longer. Their families need them to work, to put food on the table and clothes on their backs. So just like their fathers, they’ll head to the nearby slate quarry.

One Moonlit Night doesn’t have a story as such. It’s a series of episodes that spin through different points in time; mixing gossip and anecdote with dreams and recollections. At some points the narrative seems to even leave reality behind, entering the realm of myth with invocations to the Queen of The Black Night and the Queen of Snowdon (the Beautiful One)

Come again my Beautiful One, come again and take me before the sun rises from his resting place, before we are disturbed by the bleating of the lamb; fully possess your chosen one before the withering of the moon’s candle; prepare before me the joy of my afternoon.

Lyrical Yet Ordinary

Caradog Prichard offers a heady mix of the lyrical and the commonplace but also draws heavily on local dialect and expressions. Few characters have standard names; instead they’re denoted by their occupation, or their relation to another character or their residence. So we have Elwyn Top Row, Little Will Policeman’s Dad, Bob Milk Cart, Johnny Beer Barrel’s Dad and – my favourite – Will Starch Collar.

Seeing these names on the page reminded me so much of the village where my parents were born. Few people there used surnames either. When they spoke about a neighbour or someone else in the village. It was always Jones the Milk or Dai Post or Evan Two Shoes (the origin of which is lost in the mists of time). It’s a practice possible only in a small community where that can be just one post man or milkman,

Won Over By Energetic Narrator

I didn’t take to this book initially but slowly its humour and energy won me over. I loved the narrator who has a zest for life that’s hard to quench and a love for his gran and his widowed mother that is matched only by his love of bread and butter and lobscouse (a kind of lamb and vegetable stew). He even prays for food, inspired by a line from the Lord’s Prayer he’d recited in church that morning:

Give us this day our daily bread … bread.
And after saying daily bread, I didn’t go any further with the others, I just started thinking. I remembered Mam telling me before we came to Church that we had no bread to make bread and butter with, and so I asked God for some more daily bread cos the parish money wasn’t coming till Friday.

That quote is one of many examples of how Pritchard blends humour and darkness in this novel. One moment you’re amused by a small child who takes a very literal interpretation of a prayer and the next you’re jolted into recognition this is a family very much on the breadline. What begins as a narrative of childhood fun and laughter, slowly but steadily gets darker until the final, heartbreaking ending.

It’s an unforgettable book.

One Moonlit Night by Caradog Prichard: End Notes

Caradog Pritchard

One Moonlit Night was written in the Welsh language and published in 1961 under the title Un Nos Ola Leuad. The first English translation was issued in 1995, followed by a BBC radio broadcast in English the following year.

The Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales called the book “one of the most impressive novels to be published in Wales since the Second World War.” with a narrative stye reminiscent of Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas. It was Caradog Prichard’s best known work although he was also a highly regarded poet, three times winning the National Eisteddfod crown.

My edition was published in 2015, translated by Philip Mitchell. I read it as part of the Wales Reading Month (called Dewithon) hosted by Paula at BookJotter.

A Novel of Two Unequal Halves: Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Two words sum up my reaction to Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano: Potential Unfulfilled.

This was a novel described variously by bloggers as “powerful”; “unique” and “dazzling” when it was published in January 2020. It turned out to be less exciting and thought-provoking than indicated by those reactions.

Dear Edward is a tale born out of a tragedy. On a summer morning, the Adler family board a flight for Los Angeles. They are swapping their New York residence for a new home in California where their mother can advance her career as a scriptwriter.

The plane crashes in Colorado mid flight , causing the deaths of 191 passengers. Only one person survives – twelve-year-old Edward Adler.

This is a novel of two halves.

One half  chronicles the effect of the crash upon the young boy, following him from hospital to his new home with his childless aunt and uncle. Physical therapists and a counsellor provide practical support but the biggest effect on his recovery is his friendship with Shay, the teenage girl who lives next door. With her support he begins to eat, get to school and, eventually to connect with the relatives of the passengers who died.

Coming of Age

This half of Dear Edward is essentially is a coming-of-age narrative in which Edward struggles with the loss of his family and his feeling that part of himself was also lost in the sky. It’s handled sensitively and with good insight into the psychological dimensions of grief and survivor guilt.

My problem with the book lay in its other half. In this Ann Napolitano winds back in time to the plane itself, recording the backstories of some of its passengers as it journeys to the moment of oblivion.

In the first class section there’s an irritable old business tycoon who is in the late stages of cancer. Across the aisle is a younger version of him, a Wall Street whizzkid with a drug abuse problem and Edward’s mother who is struggling to complete a script.

Back in the economy section are a soldier injured while on duty in Afghanistan, a larger-than-life woman who is running away from her controlling husband and a young woman flying to meet the man she hopes will be her partner in life.

Two Unequal Halves

My problem was that I didn’t feel these chapters really added much to the overall narrative. We already knew the plane crashed so all we were left with was the human interest angle. But I simply couldn’t connect with any of Ann Napolitano’s characters. They weren’t fleshed out enough to make me feel they were real and I never felt invested in their stories.

It might have made more sense if Dear Edward had just focused on the members of the Adler family. Or better still, just focused on Edward himself and how his survival impacts people who have never met him. These strangers feel a desperate need to reach out to him, sending him letters (hence the book’s title) asking him to fulfill the hopes and dreams of their loved ones who never made it.

How Edward responds to these expectations is one of the most interesting aspects of this book. The novel had so much potential to explore the consequences of a traumatic incident both on the immediate victims and the wider circle of friends and relatives.

I just wish Ann Napolitano had stuck to this main story rather than diluting the novel with, what to me, felt like a side story of the plane in motion.

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano: End Notes

Ann Napolitano

Ann Napolitano is the Associate Editor of One Story literary magazine. She received an MFA from New York University and has taught fiction writing in the USA. She currently lives in Brooklyn.

Dear Edward is her third novel, following on from A Good Hard Look and Within Arm’s Reach. It was published by Dial Press in the United States, and by Viking Penguin in the United Kingdom.

My thanks to Viking for a proof copy in return for an honest review.

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