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All the Beggars Riding Paperback – 6 Feb 2014


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All the Beggars Riding + The Meeting Point + Notes to Future Self
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (6 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 0571270565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571270569
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 302,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lucy Caldwell was born in Belfast in 1981. She is an award-winning playwright and novelist - for more details, see her website at www.lucycaldwell.com

Product Description

Review

Love, lies, obsession, grief . . . gripping. (Daily Mail)

A powerful story . . . a writer of rare elegance and beauty, Caldwell doesn't just get inside her characters' minds. She perches in the precarious chambers of their hearts, telling their stories truthfully and tenderly. (Independent)

All the Beggars Riding is the heartbreaking portrait of a woman confronting and trying to make sense of her past . . . gripping and raw. (Irish Independent)

Book Description

All the Beggars Riding by Lucy Caldwell: from the award winning author of The Meeting Point comes another powerful exploration of love, desire and family.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Susie B TOP 100 REVIEWER on 9 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
'If wishes were horses, beggars would ride' is an old saying, meaning that if all we needed to do for things to be better is to wish for them, then we would all be living the good life; and so the heroine of this novel, Lara, a care worker in her late thirties, mourning the death of her mother and suffering after a failed love affair, comes to the realization that wishing her life were different is of no use, and that for her life to change, she must do something to change it herself. Therefore, after attending creative writing classes, Lara decides to write her life story, in order to try to understand and to address issues from her past.

Moving backwards and forwards in time from the 1970s to the present day, the first part of this novel tells Lara's story as she sees it, and it is here that we read of how Lara grows up with her younger brother, Alfie, and her mother, Jane, in a small flat in Earl's Court, with her mostly absent father, a plastic surgeon, who spends a large part of his time working in Belfast, helping to reconstruct the faces of those who have been injured in the bombings. Even as a young child, Lara is aware that something is not quite right between her mother and father - although it is evident that they adore each other - but it is not until she is twelve years old that Lara learns the truth about her father's double life. Shocked and confused by her parents' situation, Lara turns away from her father, and becomes a troubled adolescent, and when her father is killed shortly after her discovery, she feels consumed with guilt. (No spoilers - we learn all of this early on in the novel and also from the information on the book's cover).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Always searching for a good read on 3 Jun. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Found this book bit of a dissapointment that in my opinion never really flowed or reached any great climax . Got the impression the author wasn`t quite sure how to execute the story. Reminded me a bit of stories you wrote in primary school.,put everything on paper you could think of and finished with the classic "and then I woke up !" .That said passed a pleasant couple of hours but is sadly instantly forgettable .
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By Ray Garraty on 17 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback
The novel is set in two time layers. In our days, the protagonist of the novel Lara recalls the events of her childhood in the early 1970s. Lara is now trying to write a memoir about her family while attending creative writing courses.

Lara's mother Jane died of a heart disease, and Lara feels like an orphan. To write her family story Lara felt after watching documentary about Chernobyl. In this film, the book protagonist (and narratoe) first saw the effect of a death of a loved one on his survived family members.

Lara's and her brother Alfie’ father Robert died in a helicopter crash in 1985. And it was the father's death, and not the mother’s, that quite devastated little Lara.

Lara begins her memoirs since that year, 1985, when she and her mother and brother went on holiday to Spain, where they had had to wait for their father, a military surgeon, working in Northern Ireland, where at that time the attacks occurred frequently, and therefore the best doctors were invited to work there, where it was often necessary to save the lives of the victims of explosions and injuries from firearms.

This charming story about lies and human weakness begins surprisingly too slow. The author's voice - Lara – seeks too long to right approach to tell her story, and the impatient reader can shut the book, exhausted after the first 30 pages. And he will be wrong, if he does not continue reading.

Lara, of course, is disingenuous when she says that she is not a writer, that she does not know the craft, that her story is awkwardly built and it does not explain a lot. In fact, the narrator, and thus Lucy Caldwell herself, writes professionally, showing events of the novel from different angles and from different layers of time.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The only positive thing in Lara's life is the weekly writing class she goes to with the elderly man she she cares for. She doesn't hand in the assignments, but she usually completes them, even though the only thing she wants to write about is her parents' relationship. I thought the first part of the book was wonderfully subtle and moving. Lucy Caldwell writes beautifully and I really felt that I understood Lara's need to piece together fragments of memory.

Much of the second half of the book purports to be what Lara actually wrote. A few excerpts would have been fine, but more than seventy pages was just too long for a story that added little to the reader's knowledge or understanding. It picked up towards the end, but for me, it never quite recaptured the magic of the opening section.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Gibson on 14 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was our book club monthly, and I did enjoy its content quite a lot, it took a while to get into when she started into fiction, but mostly it was a good read. I would look for the author again.
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Format: Paperback
The narrator Lara is writing the intriguing story of her childhood, the strange life of her parents, but tells the reader she cannot accurately remember the events and reactions. We know that – all recall is fiction. Then Lara tells the reader the same again. And again. This, more successfully than an IRA bomb between the covers, demolishes both engagement with her tale and interest in it. Lara is taking a succession of creative writing courses, so be creative. Get on with exploring or explaining the behaviour and motivation of the characters instead of offering scenarios in shards.
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