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Losing Gemma [Paperback]

Katy Gardner
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
Price: 6.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

5 Sep 2002

Two girls went travelling in search of adventure, in search of 'real life'. Only one came back ...

A chilling, gripping novel about the backpacking holiday of a lifetime with utterly devastating and unexpected consequences, this is a dazzling andassured first novel destined to become an instant classic.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (5 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141005467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141005461
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 590,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Katy Gardner teaches social anthropology at the University of Sussex. She lives in Brighton with her husband and three children. This is her first novel.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
This is the story of Gemma and me: how I lost her, I suppose. Read the first page
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I loved The Beach and I loved Losing Gemma 5 May 2008
By Janie U TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This is said with reference to the quote on the cover of the book.
I enjoyed knowing the outcome of the story at the beginning of the book (or thinking I did anyway) as it gave me a strange sense of superiority over the narrator Esther. All through the book I wanted to shout at Esther that she should know better than to do what she has just done - then gradually and sadly realised that she didn't and than she had to go through all the experiences she did just to find her real self.
As someone who didn't go back packing the life seems appealing although I would never have wanted the discomfort - so reading about someone else is a great way of soaking up the experience.
I couldn't stop reading the book and would recommend it highly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A jolly good read! 11 Sep 2002
Format:Paperback
In this intriguing and gripping novel, Katy Gardner explores the themes of friendship and jealousy from childhood to adulthood.
The story begins retrospectively, and unfolds with excellent, graphic descriptions of India from the viewpoint of Esther, who has brought her childhood friend Gemma along on a backpacking adventure. We know from the outset that Gemma never returned from the trip - what we don't know is why.
Esther has a tendency to be bossy and strong willed, always expecting the quieter Gemma to follow her lead, as appears to have been the case throughout the many years of their friendship. We travel along with Esther as she looks back on their trip, wondering what went so disastrously wrong, and trying to make sense of it all with her. The strange characters, and mysterious and sometimes sinister situations, are introduced like the pieces of a puzzle, keeping the reader guessing, and wondering if all is not quite what it seems, all the way through, until the author skillfully fits all those puzzle pieces neatly into place.
I loved this book! I loved the detailed descriptions of India so skillful that I could see, hear and almost even smell the places Gardner writes about. I loved the central characters, self assured Esther, the rather more mousy, plump Gemma, and the rather odd and somewhat enigmatic Coral. It's the kind of story you just have to keep turning the pages of until you've reached the end, and with it a conclusion that brings home the fact that maybe two people don't always share the same view of their friendship.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A jolly good read! 6 Sep 2002
Format:Paperback
In this intriguing and gripping novel, Katy Gardner explores the themes of friendship and jealousy from childhood to young adulthood, and from both viewpoints.
The story begins retrospectively, and unfolds with excellent, graphic descriptions of India from the viewpoint of Esther, who has taken her childhood friend Gemma along on a backpacking adventure. We know from the outset that Gemma never returned from the trip - what we don't know is why.
Esther has a tendency to be bossy and strong-willed, always expecting the quieter Gemma to follow her lead, as appears to have been the case throughout the many years of their friendship. We travel along with Esther as she looks back on their trip, wondering what went wrong, and trying to make sense of it all with her. The strange characters, and mysterious and sometimes sinister situations, are introduced like the pieces of a puzzle, keeping the reader guessing, and wondering if all is not quite as it seems, all the way through until the author skillfully fits all those puzzle pieces neatly into place.
I loved this book, I loved the detailed descriptions of India so well written that I could see, hear and almost even smell the places Gardner writes about. I loved the central characters, self-assured, attractive, confident Esther, the rather more mousy, plump Gemma and the rather odd, somewhat enigmatic Coral. It's the kind of story you just have to keep on turning the pages of until you've reached the end, a conclusion that brings home the fact that maybe two people don't always share the same view of their friendship.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tense read 31 Mar 2005
By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Two young women, friends from childhood, go back-packing to India - exotic at first, then increasingly sinister. Marvellously vivid descriptions and tense situations, though the emotions tend to be a little over-written and repetitive. But it is a real page-turner: one really wants to know what happens next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Psychological Drama 16 Mar 2014
By Sue B
Format:Paperback
I was utterly enthralled with this book from the first page to the last.

Esther and Gemma are twenty-somethings who have been best friends since infancy. They take a trip to India. Esther is thin, pretty, confident and self-assured. In contrast, Gemma is small, fat and socially ill at ease. Despite the obvious differences in their adult personae, Esther clings to the belief that their friendship is as strong as it's ever been. However, Esther's behaviour towards Gemma is sometimes patronising and can be controlling.

As the two travel through India, Esther's sense of control starts to slip and her confidence erodes. India is not the happy, hippy paradise she imagined. While it's astonishing and amazing, it's also grubby, stickily hot, often indifferent and at times even hostile. The situation worsens when free-spirit Coral attaches herself to the two girls. Esther dislikes her but Gemma and Coral grow close, shutting out Esther, who feels more and more isolated. As the story progresses, Esther senses malign, hidden forces at work. She becomes increasingly fearful and panicked and loses Gemma.

The title works on several levels. Esther loses Gemma in a physical sense but she also loses her idea of Gemma, discovering that adult Gemma is a different person to her childhood friend. Gemma also loses 'Gemma', as the old Gemma metamorphoses into someone new.

At the end of the book, Esther returns to India. Six years have passed, but Esther is finally able to discover what happened to Gemma. At this point various unexplained details from earlier in the story begin to make sense, which prompted me to immediately read it again.

The book raises the question of whether we can ever truly know another person or indeed ourselves. It's a really absorbing page-turner and although I must have read it half a dozen times, for me each time has been as fascinating and as gripping as the first.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars loved it
Really enjoyed it - couldn't put it down. Even though the end was not entirely unpredictable, I thought the storyline and structure worked well.
Published 13 months ago by Cathy Shutt
3.0 out of 5 stars not what I would expect of an anthropology professor
The book kept me interested for the first few pages, but I started guessing what was going to happen when Coral appeared on the scene. Read more
Published on 20 Jun 2010 by E. Baxter
2.0 out of 5 stars Losing Gemma? Losing the Plot!
Although the descriptions of places and people are well written, the storyline is lame to say the least. Read more
Published on 20 May 2009 by jkennedy
5.0 out of 5 stars I felt like I travelled with them.
I was a bit sceptical when I was given this book by a friend but I was however pleasantly suprised. Katy Gardner really does have a flair for making you feel like you are with them... Read more
Published on 23 Nov 2007 by Mrs. A. Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Tense Psychological Drama - I Loved It!
The way the story unfolds is very engaging. Most of it is written in the past tense, seen from the perspective of the apparently self confident Ester. Read more
Published on 24 Mar 2007 by P. Butler
2.0 out of 5 stars not fun at all
not the best book i have read, thought i would really enjoy it as i enjoy travelling, but no. the main character acts like she knows everything and her friendship with gemma... Read more
Published on 6 Feb 2007 by Lindymck
1.0 out of 5 stars Total rubbish
The book was boring with an unbelievable plot no wonder there are so many for sale on the amazon marketplace, and the drama made by ITV of the book was even worse. Read more
Published on 20 Dec 2006 by mrs teapot
3.0 out of 5 stars Three and a half
I'm giving this three stars, but I'd actually like to give it three and a half. I certainly found it compelling when reading it; difficult to put down, etc. Read more
Published on 26 April 2003 by Naomi
3.0 out of 5 stars Keep reading
I was encouraged to buy this book by the blurb on the front telling me that if I liked The Beach, I would apparently love this. Read more
Published on 14 Oct 2002 by P B Mason
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