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Consolation Paperback – 6 Aug 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (6 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571238068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571238064
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,249,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

`James Wilson brings a century-old story to life ... an animated, haunting and surprisingly uplifting novel.' -- Observer

Book Description

Part ghost story, part love story, this is a poignant novel about a broken man's quest for redemption.


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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ellis Bell on 22 Oct 2009
Format: Paperback
One evening, celebrated children's author Corley Roper meets a woman named Mary Wilson in a graveyard. Both have suffered the recent loss of a child, and both are more or less adrift in the world--Roper is estranged from his mad wife and finds that he cannot write anymore. Later, he embarks on a search to find out the secret of Mary's birth.

Set nearly a hundred years ago, this novel is sort of sepia-toned, in a way. The tone of the novel is dark in parts, and it promised to be a kind of a Gothic mystery. The story as it moves you along is compelling enough, but the ending left me wanting more--and not in a good way, because it was extremely anticlimactic (I don't want to spoil anything, but it made me think, "that's it? Why the heck did Roper even bother?"). From the blurb on the back of the book, Wilson wrote this novel about his grandmother, but I'm afraid that he made quite a mountain out of a molehill with this one--Mary's secret isn't particularly new or interesting. And it's not much of a secret, either, as you will find out if you read this book.

I loved the atmosphere of the novel, but it was marred by characters who behave in unlikely ways. Why is a young American woman running around Europe unescorted? Why are pretty much all the characters so laissez-faire about the possibility of divorce in an era when divorce still wasn't taken lightly? There are also a number of really wild coincidences--Roper goes in search of Alice, and the first hotel he enquires in happens to be the hotel at which she's staying! The novel also touches on a number of different ideas and movements that were starting to take shape in the early 19th century (early psychology, cubism), but he never really delves into them. In short, this was a short novel with a lot of promise; it just didn't hang together well for me, I'm afraid.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Caroline Smedley on 21 Jan 2010
Format: Paperback
I won't go through the plot, as other reviewers have done that already. Just to say, this book is unique and amazing. If you like Victorian novels, as I do, you will find a similarity that is quite extraordinary. The author is true to the period in every detail. The storyline moves along at a good pace and the cameo characters are distinctive.
I would have liked more information in a postscript about his family history connection; Mary Wilson was his grandmother I understand, but that is not stated anywhere in the copy I have.
Can't wait to read more James Wilson if they are all as good as this!
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Format: Paperback
What a great book - unusually compelling and incredibly well observed. The story really immerses you in 1910, and in the emotional life of the main character. It seemed to me that the underlying themes were about the struggle to live intuitively and truly, as opposed to doing what we think (or are told) is right - and about keeping faith, too. Inspiring and beautifully written.
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