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Jubilee [Paperback]

Shelley Harris
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

24 May 2012

It's 1977, the day of the Queen's Silver Jubilee, when a photographer captures a moment forever: a festive street party with bunting and Union Jacks fluttering in the breeze and, right in the centre of the frame, a small Asian boy staring intensely at the camera. The photo becomes infamous when it is adopted as a symbol of everything that is great and good about Britain, but what is the real story behind it? Relationships between the neighbours on Cherry Gardens are far from easy, and minor frictions threaten to erupt as the street party begins...

Fast forward to the present and that boy, Satish, is now a successful paediatric heart surgeon, saving lives and families every single day. But he's living with a secret - he's addicted to controlled prescription drugs. A message about a proposed reunion of the children in the photograph throws his life into turmoil as he thinks back to Jubilee Day, and the events that changed his life for ever.


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Jubilee + The Book of Summers + The Secrets Between Us
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix (24 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780220081
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780220086
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Shelley Harris was born in South Africa, emigrating to Britain at the age of six because of her parents' opposition to Apartheid. She has been a local journalist, a teacher, a filler of envelopes, an assistant in a wine shop and a bouncer at teenage discos. She lived in Paris for a year, on the sixth floor of a skinny townhouse, in the smallest flat she's ever seen.

Her first novel, 'Jubilee', is about an iconic photograph taken at a Silver Jubilee street party in 1977, about the boy at the centre of that photograph, and about the secrets he has kept hidden for thirty years.

When she's not writing she volunteers at her local Oxfam bookshop, where she loves helping customers find just the right book.


Photograph by Cath Harries.

Product Description

Review

Sharply observed and richly characterised...Unfinished business, both personal and national, shadows a perceptive story of family and nation in transition (Boyd Tonkin THE INDEPENDENT)

Period detail and sharply observed dialogue contribute to a taut novel with plenty of ethical resonance for contemporary cultural relations (James Urquhart FINANCIAL TIMES)

An extremely well-crafted story (INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

Satish's experiences are truly anguishing. As you're slowly let into his dreadful secret, it's an arresting read. Unputdownable (Judy Finnigan WOMAN'S OWN)

Book Description

One day can change your life...

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Snapshot of 70s Britain 5 Jun 2012
By Denise4891 TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Jubilee centres around a snapshot taken during a street party to celebrate the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977. The photograph becomes iconic, firstly because it features a small Asian boy and is held up as an example of multicultural Britain, and later when a punk bank use a pastiche of the photo on their album cover.

30 years later the photographer wants to recreate the moment with the original `cast' but gets mixed reactions from those involved, not all of whom want to remember the events of that turbulent day. The Asian boy, Satish, is now a successful consultant paediatric cardiologist and a happily married father of two. However, beneath the surface he is wrestling with demons of his own, and the thought of dredging up unhappy memories from his childhood does not appeal. Satish's family had fled to the UK from Uganda in the early 70s and at the time of the Jubilee were still struggling to establish themselves as British citizens. Their integration into the quiet Buckinghamshire street where the party takes place has not always been smooth, so tempers fray and hidden prejudices come to the fore as the residents of Cherry Gardens prepare for the big day.

The tension builds slowly and the pace overall is fairly sedate, with just one or two flashes of violence. Shelley Harris, who herself came to Britain as a child in the 70s, has successfully recreated a sense of time and place, and whilst there's a pleasing amount of retro detail, she has thankfully managed to resist laying on the nostalgic references with a trowel (which must be tempting with this sort of book). The novel is not about the Jubilee itself, but more about the subsequent lives of this disparate group of people who came together on 7th June 1977 to celebrate it. I found it a very interesting and perceptive debut novel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read 9 April 2014
By Kate
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Clever, easy to read, I enjoyed this book. I would recommend it, as would most of my friends who had already read it before me.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic but falls at the final hurdle 11 Mar 2014
By Lorna
Format:Paperback
It's Jubilee Day 1977 & Satish & his street are holding a party to celebrate. A local newspaper photographer captures the moment & the photo becomes a part of the day. Now, 30 years on, the photographer wants to hold a reunion & recreate the famous shot but secrets from Satish's past & issues in his present leave him questioning whether or not to take part.
I really enjoyed the lashings of nostalgia in the 1977 portions of the book - having grown up in a similar street full of children from my school I could make connections with this part & found it spot on. However, I didn't really connect with the grown up Satish et al & when the final reveal of his big secret came I was a bit "Is that it?" I kept expecting it to develop further but it never did. The ending coming when it did was a disappointment & I would have liked more on the incident as opposed to the build-up of the day.
Saying that, it's an easy summer/beach read & good for a trip down memory lane.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars None 17 Jun 2012
By Cass
Format:Kindle Edition
Sorry to say.but i didn't like this at all.For me ,it just rambled on,and i'm just grateful i've finished. very slow and generally dull!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good pacing and detail 26 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was chosen by a member of my bookgroup for our "summer read" and I had to have two attempts to read it, as the first time it didn't grab me. At the second attempt, I really enjoyed it. I am exactly the right age to remember much of the "period detail" and enjoyed references to items and events I had forgotten. I thought the pacing and detail of the book were very good and enjoyed the way that details revealed in the earlier time period were later shown to have relevance in the later time period. I liked the character of Satish and was shocked by the casual racism he and his family experienced. My only criticism is that the morning leading up to the Jubilee party was very long and I found myself wondering when it would ever reach the party! Satish's encounters in later life with the people he had known in his childhood were well written, though perhaps a touch predictable, and the accounts of his addiction believable. I would recommend this book as a great summer read for all 40-somethings!
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Took me right back to the day 17 Feb 2012
Format:Hardcover
Although this is a story of many other things than a silver jubilee party, there's no doubt that a large part of the appeal of the book, for me and I'm sure for others, was the way it so vividly transported me back to such an iconic day - the politics of our street party, the roll out of the day, the people that my family and neighbours were...and then, it set me thinking about where we all are now and how our lives turn out as compared to the characters in the book. Even if you didn't spend the silver jubilee at a street party Jubilee is a great story; its themes treated with humanity and reality rather than drama for its own sake - moving, insightful and occasionally shocking. If you too can own up to listening to David Soul, jumping elastic in the playground and eating Artic Roll it's an absolute must-read.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than A Celebration 3 Jun 2013
By M. J. Saxton VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
A secret can shadow your whole life; it can make things grow out of perspective; it can lead to serious personal consequences. Best to share with those you love and those involved and get it out in the open then it can hold no more power. This is the underlying message of "Jubilee".

Fortunately, the book doesn't preach to get it across as so many contemporary novels can.

A photograph was taken at Jubilee celebrations in Cherry Gardens in 1977. Before it was taken Satish had been involved in a series of incidents which led to him becoming a victim, but what of? The children of the street were in that in-out tangle of relationships that permeates school life. Alliances and rivalries changed constantly until they reached one resolution on that day.

Years later Satish still carries the scars of what happened which he shares with no-one. Until the original photographer wants to reshoot the photo of them all that became a worldwide phenomenon.

The story gradually unpeels the events of that day in 1977, probably typical of so many places, and, run though he might, Satish has to take a clear look at what happened to him. As he re-encounters childhood friends and gains perspective from his family and contemporary life, he realises that what he has held inside all these years was not the demon he had feared, nor did it mean what he thought.

Shelley Harris does an excellent job in showing how we can hold onto childhood impressions and allow them to fester unless something helps us examine them in the clear light of adulthood. Satish's brush with addiction is well drawn and the development of an anxiety disorder believable. The denouement is a release for character and reader alike.

The book highlights suburban attitudes of '77 and the anxieties prevalent in early 21st century British society. It is involving, interesting and extremely well-written. An example of narrative contemporary fiction at its best.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read
I found Jubilee a book that I could not put down. I read it immediately after Cuckoo's calling (the new book by JK Rowling) and found it just as good a read. Read more
Published 7 months ago by JaneT
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read for those that remember the silver jubilee!
We read this at my book club, as one of our members went to school with the author.
We all enjoyed the book, and agreed that it was well written. Read more
Published 10 months ago by J. Winter
2.0 out of 5 stars Harder work than I anticipated
I was greatly looking forward to reading this, after reading the rave reviews, but actually found it hard work. Read more
Published 11 months ago by N. Timpson
5.0 out of 5 stars Deftly written.
An uncomfortably tense read. Satish's life unravels when a photograph taken on Jubilee Day 1977 resurfaces. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Angela C
5.0 out of 5 stars Past, Present & Future
A finely written piece of fiction, where a storyline from the past weaves expertly with the present day, while all the while pushing you to find out what will happen in the future. Read more
Published 13 months ago by E Webb
3.0 out of 5 stars Novel based around where I live!
Not a particularly inspiring bit of literature, but it was interesting to see how the author had written in the links to local places and to this village!
Published 14 months ago by Heathen
2.0 out of 5 stars Let down!
This was recommended by friends. It is very well written. I did however get bored and lost interest with the characters, which is probably more my fault than the books as this is... Read more
Published 14 months ago by sherri cooke
3.0 out of 5 stars Book Club Book
Was a book recommended by a book club I attend. The descroption of the book seemed really interesting but the story although good was disappointing.
Published 15 months ago by Pawlie
5.0 out of 5 stars jubilee
Jubilee very quick, good condition and bonus that it was a reading group book with questions at end thank you
Published 16 months ago by Iain Bhagwandin
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just for the Jubilee year.
Although slightly more topical for this Jubilee year of 2012, Jubilee is for everyone who was at, or may remember, a Jubilee street party. Read more
Published 16 months ago by J. M. Passmore
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