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Inside the Whale Hardcover – 31 Jul 2008


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; First Edition; 1st printing. edition (31 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701182733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701182731
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,398,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'a work of a singularly outlandish and compassionate imagination....has one shouting its praises to anybody who is within earshot' -- New Statesman, Christopher Hawtree

`a deeply affecting story ... vividly recreating Blitz-torn London and the Africa of the same period.' -- Saturday Guardian, Catherine Taylor

'...spirited prose that captures the mood of doodlebug London, this is a total joy of a debut novel' -- Good Housekeeping, Kerry Fowler

'The best things in life this month ... this heartfelt debut novel offers a witty twist on a WWII romance'
-- Red

`Rooney thinly veils the drudgery permeating their lives with a tender and constantly shimmering humour' -- The Big Issue, Daisy Greenwell

`Rooney's language is as intimate as her story...a fine first novel' -- Metro, Ben East

`Rooney, who's only 27, is fresh, funny and wise, balancing the emotional turmoil with a vivid turn of phrase' -- Marie-Claire,Eithne Farry

`This is an elegant, funny and moving first novel... a wonderful, memorable musing on life, fate and love' -- Sunday Express, Viv Groskop

`moving debut'
-- Literary Review

not just a tender story of love and war, but an acutely observed novel of endearing characters
-- Saga Magazine

Review

`Add this to your list', `this vivid story of lost love is tender, funny and hugely entertaining'
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By stevieby on 21 July 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Currently it seems a lot of writers are trying desperately to break through to the best-seller lists (perhaps it has always been the way), so it is refreshing to find an author who deserves to suceed with writing which seems effortless! There is a richness in the characters and the details, and a wisdom and depth which leaves you checking the authors age in disbelief!

The story is a love story - beginning in the years leading to World War II. (It is easy to get the feeling that for some people the war never ended.)

I though to mark the book down due to lack of a plot - no build-up or drive; but then I realized each moment was beautifully formed and I learnt to relax and let the story unfold in its own time!

It was my mistake to think about "The English Patient" as Michael is an old man when in his hospital bed he reminisces about his war. How he turned away from Stevie and she from him - this is closer to "Last Orders" - the randomness and rawness of life and decisions made.

Switching between humour and joy to longing and sorrow in a natural unaffected way, it is all so perfectly coloured. A pleasure to read!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By kehs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 13 July 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is about two elderly people and the cruel twist that WWII played on their lives. Michael is an elderly man now. He is in hospital and has lost the power of speech. He communicates by writing on a pad. Stevie is recovering from the death of her husband and living temporarily with her daughter Emily and granddaughter Anna. The two main characters tell their story in alternate chapters. They talk about how they met and fell in love but were then parted when Michael got called up. Neither of the two know about each other's present day circumstances and we hear them reminiscing about each other.

This tale is poignant and heartbreaking, but filled with a gentle humour. Rooney has written a believable tale about wartime love and the hardships that people of that time endured. She has made the characters come to life on the pages and created a warm, uplifting tale about the power of love.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Marilyn Bennett VINE VOICE on 15 July 2008
Format: Paperback
Stevie (Stephanie) and Michael are in the Winter of thier lives. Michael is in hospital and can no longer speak and so must communicate with a pad attached with a cord beside his bed. Stevie is mourning the death of her husband. We learn that they were once lovers and that the events of the war have kept them apart. They are ordinary people who, like many others, have regrets and now look on the world differently from when they were young. We learn of the family influences which have shaped their lives and the inner turmoil of those influences. Neither character is self pitying they merely relate events as they have seen and felt them. This is the human tale of love, war and sadness. There were many times when I thought about not finishing the book. I found it virtually impossible to relate to any of the characters and I began to find it boring. I am glad that I finished the book as it got better towards the end. More importantly I started wondering how many other people went through the same feelings as the characters. A thought provoking book. Not one that I enjoyed very much at the time of reading but one that stays in your mind as you look at older people and wonder what sadness (and happiness)their lives have given them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Baz Douglas VINE VOICE on 18 July 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a corker. Thoroughly enjoyable, if sometimes unsettling, and plenty of food for thought. A dual narrative, encompassing war, relationships, family, love, regret, a well drawn picture of a vanishing London and some of its denizens. Based around two main characters and their intertwined but ultimately seperate lives, this would make an excellent book club read as there is plenty to chew on, interesting and well drawn characters, universal themes and good writing. I recommend this highly to anyone who likes a good literary read with an edge.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P. Hargreaves VINE VOICE on 21 Dec 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was captivated from the very beginning of 'Inside The Whale' with the description of the over-cautious mother who provides people with bowls of water next to their plates at birthday parties just in case the candles on the cake get out of control!

It's a very gentle tale of different members of one family and how the war affected them. Romantic and sad, funny and poignant, I think this is a perfect summer novel that could be read all in one go!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. E. Quinn VINE VOICE on 25 Jun 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a well written book giving you a wonderful insight into a relationship from both sides. It is a two handed description of the beginning and end of a love with the loss of the middle as the 2nd world war pulls the couple apart and the horrors of war far from home leads to decisions that are regretted years later.

Michael and Stevie are characters that the reader comes to sypathise with as they make fateful descisions and then have to live with the consequences that result from them, as the guilt of one person and the non delivery of as simple a thing as letters lead lead him to take an action he would otherwise never have done and as the one left behind she has to make a choice for herself not knowing that Michael never received her news that would have led him to make a different choice but leads instead to a lifetime of regret for him.

As the story unfolds in the heat of the African desert as Michael crosses a continent chasing the Germans and Italians and suffering the thirst and malaria and the guilt of a single second in time and it's effect on him and those around him while Stevie suffers the perils of the blitz in London spending night after night crowded into bomb shelters, the pain of these two people comes across as they have to grow up and live with the results of their actions.

As the story brings their lifes full circle to it's bittersweet conclusion you are left feeling a sadness for the loss of hope and innocence.

Jennie Rooney has written a beautiful story that engages the reader's emotions with the characters and I would happily recommend anyone to read it and I look forward with interest to her next endeavour. If she can repeat this quality of storytelling I will be very happy.
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