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Everything Will be All Right Hardcover – 1 Jan 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 436 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd (1 Jan. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224071742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224071741
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 806,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

A long, intricate novel that reveals the emotions of a family and their varying reactions to life, which spans three generations of women. Joyce is 13 when her widowed mother takes her to live with Aunt Vera, a teacher, and Uncle Dick, a remote, unsatisfactory figure. Later, at school, she falls for a teacher, Ray, and marries him. Life is not altogether satisfactory and Ray is unfaithful. Zoe, her daughter, wants her own life without restrictions, and her daughter, Pearl, is also a rebel. This is a novel full of wit and clever observations, and one needs to follow it closely and not lose the thread. Hadley writes very well, and this is a serious look at contemporary life.

Book Description

The acclaimed second novel from the author of The London Train. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Owly on 3 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had enjoyed so much `The Master Bedroom' and `The London Bus' and eagerly looked forward to Tessa Hadley's newest novel`Clever Girl'but found this so disappointing that I hankered after the earlier pleasurable reads and so bought `Everything Will Be All Right'.
I was not disappointed this time. I would not say that I could not put the book down but that it was always a very great pleasure to pick up! Tessa Hadley follows the lives of the women of a family from the early fifties to late nineties picking up on the zeitgeist of each strand of their society at the time, as well as the emotional and historical lives of Joyce, her daughter Zoe and then Zoe's daughter Pearl.
The story is skilfully constructed so that we meet Pearl on the first page with Joyce on a brief voyage to seek the house of Joyce's childhood taking with them her now elderly Aunt Vera. The lives of the sisters Vera and Lil, Joyce's mother, are seen through Joyce's eyes as the story proper begins with Joyce as a child.
Some of the strands of lives past that are depicted for us involve: an independent girls' grammar school in the early fifties where Aunt Vera is a teacher & Joyce a pupil, a city Art School in the late fifties where Joyce is a student and Cambridge in the seventies where Zoe is a student.
The struggles of marriage are a common theme and in particular the very gradually improving behaviour of the male! The book could almost be seen as a brief study of male dominance and very gradual erosion of chauvinism as women gain a stronger voice. Though as Pearl tells her father in the early 1990s "There's a long way to go before (males become) bland Dad!"
But O the detail of Art School life in the fifties and sixties!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Penguinista on 22 Dec. 2012
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Tessa Hadley is a wonderful writer. She's excellent both describing the texture of everyday life and the nature of relationships, especially family dynamics. This novel is not quite as tightly plotted as her later ones - eg. London Train and Master Bedroom - but it's a fantastic read. Had me totally absorbed. I could describe it as a family saga, since it follows generations of women (particularly mothers) and the ways they react to the same sorts of situations: love, childbearing, and how to express their own creativity. But that really doesn't do it justice because it's so acute on reactions and relationships. The review above mentions Alan Hollinghurst, which I think is an excellent comparison, because Hadley has the same relish for language and alertness to social mores, but her fiction is perhaps a little more attuned to domestic life and particularly to the ways in which families develop. Loved it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chas. Dickens on 13 Dec. 2012
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I agree with Kate - for me, Pearl was too bad to be true (although she certainly takes after her father, another piece of work).
Curiously, I came to this after finishing Hollinghurst's novel and found myself reading another 4-generation saga; Tessa H.'s is much less pretentious and all the better for it (although she shows she certainly knows a lot about painting and literature). The big difference is that she can interest us in her characters.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 July 2011
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A beautifully-told tale of a family over four generations, focussing on a woman from each generation. I particularly enjoyed Aunt Vera's obsession with a good education and 'the life of the mind' and her husband Dick's philandering, Joyce's experiences at art school and her romance and later marriage to the charismatic but difficult Ray, and Zoe's time at Cambridge. Hadley really cares about her characters in the same way as the great 19th century novelists (George Eliot springs to mind). The only reason I wouldn't give this five stars is that I think Hadley weakens when describing Zoe's daughter Pearl, who appears to be a horribly spoilt brat with virtually no redeeming features at all! This means the last bit of the novel falls slightly flat - all the same, it's a wonderful read and one I'll re-visit several times, I think.
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Tessa Hadley's descriptive writing is fantastic. I love her characters and how her books and stories don't all have to end perfectly, wrapped up in a bow. They are like a stream of consciousness focusing on one part of the family then the next. She writes about characters I can really relate to and whose traits I see mirrored from real life (yes including Pearl, she is spot on, I disagree with the other reviewers!)

All in all a great writer.
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