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It So Happens [Paperback]

Patricia Ferguson
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.95
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Book Description

21 Jun 2004

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It So Happens + Peripheral Vision + The Midwife's Daughter
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Product details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Solidus (21 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904529070
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904529071
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 13.8 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 443,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Humane, complex, disquieting and very funny… just as enjoyable and skilful as Kingsley Amis's Ending Up or Muriel Spark's Memento Mori. -- Amanda Craig, New Statesman

Keen social satire, dark distressing thriller..hugely funny and upsetting...Austen - esque humour mingles with something reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe -- Independent on Sunday, August 1, 2004

About the Author

Somerset Maugham prize - winner Patricia Ferguson trained as a nurse and midwife at the Royal London Hospital, and worked in various countries whilst writing her first novel, the triple - prize - winning Family Myths and Legends. Many of her short stories have been broadcast on Radio Four and the title story of her collection Indefinite Nights, which is largely about nursiong, is included in the Penguin Book of Modern Women's Short Stories (ed Susuan Hill)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars quirky and brilliant 19 July 2004
This is a darkly comic and highly original novel about an assorted bunch of eccentrics living and/or working in a reitrement home - a most unlikely setting for a tale of blackmail, skulduggery and redemption, which gives the author plenty of scope for her razor-sharp observations of human frailty. She writes brilliantly about the elderly - their poignant memories, quirky habits and petty feuds - with a merciless wit that fans of Jane Austen or Barbara Pym would enjoy, and yet manages to weave into this comedy of manners a dark and truly shocking storyline. There are memorable turns of phrase on every page: this is a description of Betty, the officious warden, at work: 'Asked, she would have said that she was catching up with her paperwork. This would not, strictly speaking, have been true, for Betty had caught up with her paperwork long ago, had drawn ahead and positively lapped it, in fact.' A pleasure from start to finish.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Compelling and Extremely Compassionate 9 April 2005
By E. Grey
Patricia Ferguson's 'It So Happens' is the most compelling novel I have read in a very long time. She has a knack of making 'ordinary' people and events so intensely important to one as a reader that it feels as if one is inhabiting their lives along with them. The writing is beautiful, spare, unshowy; the perfect economy of a writer of tremendous control and skill. The horrifying prologue guaranteed that I had to read the book in one session to find out what happened, but her insight and compassion into the lives of others is what has kept me turning the novel over in my mind ever since; so intrigued by these people and their lives that it takes an effort of concentration to remember that they are not 'real'. An extraordinary book by an extraordinary writer. After reading 'It So Happens' I have been ordering everything else Patricia Ferguson has ever written.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It So Happens 7 July 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
From its electrifying opening to its closing pages, this is an unputdownable read. Set in the shabby-genteel environs of Cabotin Court - a home for retired gentlewomen - it combines a sharply satirical eye for the follies of contemporary society with a compelling story of love and deception. Ferguson writes with great wit and intelligence and her characters - gentle, well-bred Alethea, psychic Annie, overbearing Rosemary and Betty Potts, the formidable warden of the home - crackle with life. Offsetting the sparky - and Sparkish - humour is a darker awareness of the indignity of old age, and a sense of the frailty (and brevity) of life. In a novel so full of beautifully drawn episodes, it is hard to single out just one, but the scene in which Alethea sees the world for the first time after the bandages for her cataract operation have been removed manages to be both both funny and unbearably moving: "She was sitting in a room with walls of buttercup yellow, the nurse was in palest singing blue like a spring sky... she was entrancingly beautiful in every particular, as was everything else in that marvellous room..." Ferguson's admirers will find much to delight them in her latest work; those reading her for the first time will want to order up her backlist immediately.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable 23 Mar 2005
I read this novel in one sitting, as I became immediately hooked by an intriguing and original plot, carefully observed and well developed characters, and imaginatively drawn scenarios. A number of the scenes are so electrifyingly real that they must have been taken from the authors own experience.
This book went down very well with our all male reading group, and we look forward to the next novel by Pat Ferguson
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It So Happens 28 Feb 2005
I really enjoyed this book. The characterisations are just beautiful and very perceptive; you see an old lady, not just as she seems on the outside but as she used to be and how she still feels on the inside. The gentle yet pointed descriptions of life in the residential home contrast with the shocking events surrounding the burial of a child described at the beginning of the book. A most unlikely setting for a gripping mystery!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Undiscovered gem 3 Jan 2007
By Claretta VINE VOICE
Please don't be put off by the horrid cover, dull blurb, or the rather unappealing (but plot-necessary) prologue. This is a superb book about the residents and staff of a genteel retirement home (again, don't be put off!) The writing is sharp and amazingly insightful, with every page containing some amusing barb about the characters. It reminded me a bit of Barbara Pym with bite - funny, touching and poignant. All in all, a fabulous read - I know it's early days but I doubt I'll read a better book in 2007.
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1.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the worst books I have ever read 26 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is one of the worst books I have ever read, made worse by the fact that the kindle edition has weird spacing on the lines, no proper definition of characters speech, new chapters starting anywhere on a page and not a new page as is the norm and occasionally half a sentence printed in heavy type for no apparent reason.
Absolutely atrocious!
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1.0 out of 5 stars I only wish it had! 25 Feb 2014
By hi-dell
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Purchased this on review information to pass time on long journey recently. Wish I hadn't. I like to get into a book within the first few pages, with this paperback I managed to troll through forty or so pages with absolutely no idea what was happening or what is was about. Only too pleased I had bought another book too. This one was left in the hotel for another unlucky reader to pick up!!!!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Really loved this book. It just thoroughly engrossed me and that is ,for me, the most important feature of fiction
Published 3 days ago by helen grace
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
This is the second time I have read this book because I enjoyed it the first time around. Although situated in a retirement home, there are many interesting little stories about... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jenny Hudson Jennifirenze
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good read from Patricia Ferguson.
Took me a while to get into the theme but then became a 'can't put down book' Unusual 'twists and turns'.
Published 15 months ago by Mrs. J. Barrett
4.0 out of 5 stars It So Happens - Patricia Ferguson
An excellent read. I could not put the book down. A very good historical storyline of austority in the North East of England.
Published 17 months ago by Geordie
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, humourous and totally brilliant
I loved this book from Patricia Ferguson. It's dark humour, narrative, beautifully developed characters in terms of residents and carers (past and present) really do make it one... Read more
Published 23 months ago by FionaC
2.0 out of 5 stars poor writing style, complicated in characterisation etc.
I realise that not everyone can like a particular novel, but I'm afraid I go for better written novels than this one. Read more
Published on 15 Nov 2011 by A. M. Fifield
5.0 out of 5 stars She once danced with Clark Gable
Deliciously, wickedly macabre, witty, and utterly delightful, It So Happens is marvellous from start to finish. Read more
Published on 18 Sep 2009 by Eileen Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars It So Happens
This was a wonderfully written book, full of humour, intrigue, emotion and horror. There are lots of loosely woven plots working effortlessly together. Read more
Published on 22 Jan 2008 by gerty guinea
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