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Earth and Heaven

Earth and Heaven [Kindle Edition]

Sue Gee
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Beautiful... Clever, compelling' (The Times)

'A compassionate account of the life of an artist, particularly strong in its evocation of post-war London and the countryside of Kent' (Woman and Home)

'Memorable, poetic... Wonderfully evocative writing - you can almost smell the hop vines as you read' (Ms London)

'Descriptive brilliance... Its emotional tenor remains buoyant and unfaltering from the first page to the last' (TLS)

'A terrific writer' Adele Geras (Adele Geras)

Book Description

'In this beautiful novel, Sue Gee... has dared to take on a difficult, grief-stricken period of English history, and done so with sensitivity and understanding; EARTH AND HEAVEN is the clever, compelling result' The Times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 722 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Review; New Ed edition (16 Feb 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006YIA8Q8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #117,829 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
In this generous, leisurely novel, Sue Gee shows her ability to create character and place - London after the First World War, the hop-fields of Kent. As with "The Hours of the Night", she deals with loss - for Walter, who has lost his brother in the First World War; for his friend Euan, who is grieving for his comrades killed at Passchendaele... Sue Gee excels at the tensions of relationships, and at evoking the textures and pleasures of daily life. Also, this carefully-researched novel gives insights into various art movements of the period between the wars and up to the rise of Nazism - showing how some artists responded to the conflicts while others ignored them. A long and absorbing read, confirming Sue Gee's status as one of the best novelists writing today.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice read if a little 'affected' 4 Sep 2000
Very enjoyable book, but I found the language at times a bit 'cute' eg Euan asks the young 4 year old 'What are you making?' the boy replies'A mess' and there was a lot of 'Of course' - it sounded like one voice coming out of the same head and the children don't sound like children at all. However for all that it was very absorbing and illuminating about art and WW1 - though the eventual relationship between Euan and Meredith lay a bit uncomfortably - what sort of love was it between an old man and very young girl? Hmmmm....well worth the read
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and Deeply Affecting. 12 Dec 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sue Gee's 'Earth and Heaven' is a marvellous and deeply affecting novel spanning the years from the First World War to the end of the Second. Our main protagonist is Walter Cox, whom we meet when he is a very young man, just too young to be sent to the Front, living with his parents and sisters among the hop fields and cornfields of Kent. Walter's father is a farm worker and his older brother, John William, is in the trenches. In 1916, when news arrives that John William has been killed in action, Walter is devastated and feels as if he has lost half of his body - and this is a feeling that sadly never entirely leaves him.

Throughout his childhood and teenage years, Walter has enjoyed drawing as a hobby, but like many young men of his background, it is expected that he will follow his father and work on the land. However, when his headmaster suggests that Walter has a real talent and he should study art seriously, Walter jumps at the chance to become a 'real' artist. After studying at a nearby art college, Walter is accepted by the Slade, whose past pupils include: Augustus John, William Orpen, Dora Carrington, Paul Nash and Stanley Spencer. Walter is taught by the renowned Henry Tonks and Philip Wilson Steer and he makes a good impression on his teachers, but his studies are waylaid by his infatuation with the attractive, but feckless Nina. After his relationship with Nina flounders, William renews his acquaintance with another student, Sarah Lewis, a wood engraver, and they fall in love, marry and leave London to live in rural Kent where Walter grew up. This novel is the story of their life together, of their family, their art, their happy times, and of their deep sorrow and despair when tragedy enters their lives and alters it forever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exquisite, Painterly Novel 8 July 2011
By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER
A wonderful account of the British art world between World Wars I and II, seen through the eyes of three talented but (for a long time) little-known artists. Walter Cox is a labourer's son, who discovers his talent for painting as an adolescent and manages to get a scholarship to the Slade to study with the great Henry Tonks and Philip Wilson Steer (these are real people, though Gee's artists Walter, Sarah and Euan are fictional). After a misadventure in love, Walter finds happiness with Sarah Lewis, a wood engraver, and they settle together in Walter's native Kent. When Walter's best friend, the sculptor Euan Harrison comes to live near them, Walter and Sarah (now with a daughter, Meredith) feel truly blessed. However, some years later, Walter and Sarah's second child, a boy, is killed in an accident. The final third of the book shows how the family come to terms with this loss, both in their art and their lives.

This is a wonderful treat of a book, full of amazing painterly descriptions of landscape, and people, and vivid characters. Unlike one of the other reviewers, I enjoyed the developing relationship between Euan and Meredith, finding it very moving - and it was brave of Gee to avoid a traditional 'boy meets girl' romance here. The descriptions of Sarah and Walter's art, and how they are saved from their tragedy by their work, were also superb. The historical research was excellent, with only a couple of tiny slips (Dora Carrington was Mark Gertler's lover but never his wife) and Gee brought both London and Kent in the 1920s and 30s very brilliantly to life. I was glad of the happy (though by no means sentimental) ending, set after World War II, as well. An excellent book and one that should be much better known, as indeed should this very fine writer.
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