Nourishment and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Buy New

or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Buy Used
Used - Very Good See details
Price: 1.77

or
 
   
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Start reading Nourishment on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Nourishment [Hardcover]

Gerard Woodward
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 12.86 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
You Save: 2.13 (14%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 1 left in stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it tomorrow, 30 July? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 3.59  
Hardcover 12.86  
Paperback 7.99  

Book Description

3 Sep 2010
With her children evacuated and her husband at the front, Tory Pace is grudgingly sharing the family home with her irascible mother; working at the local gelatine factory – to help the war effort – and generally doing just about as well as could be expected in difficult times. Her quiet life is thrown into turmoil, however, when her prisoner-of-war husband, Donald, makes an outrageous demand for sexual gratification. He wants a dirty letter, by return of post! Horrified, at first, that Donald is being turned into some sort of monster by the Nazis, Tory’s disgust gradually gives way to a sense of marital duty, and taking in the libraries, bookshops, public conveniences and barbers’ shops of South-East London, she begins a quest to master the language of carnal desire: a quest that takes a sudden and unexpected turn into far more dangerous territory. Beginning with an act of unintentional cannibalism, and flirting with a scheme to end world hunger by the use of protein pills, Nourishment ranges widely across the Continent and yet always returns home: to family, to people, to relationships. Woodward offers a prescient examination of the ways in which we both nurture and consume each other in the face of adversity.

Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed


Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (3 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330518623
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330518628
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 379,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

`A compendium of long-held secrets, Nourishment excels in sharp plot turns and surprise chapter endings. As the action moves on, then loops back, from startling set piece to dramatic revelation . . . Woodward's writing is plain but his imagination is highly original . . . his bizarre scenarios shed an unsparing light on a period that is more often seen as a cosy backdrop to individual heroism or romantic love.' --Sunday Times

'[Woodward] began as a poet, and the virtues of English lyric poetry are carried over into his prose: verbal precision, detailed visual observation, arresting simile and metaphor...line by line it is consistently inventive and witty, and there are great set pieces throughout...The gifts and facilities of a highly original writer are all on display.'
--Guardian

'[Nourishment] is engrossing and witty...Woodward has a gift for describing unorthodox behaviour...a deeply satisfying book - more akin to a filling roast dinner than to some of the gelatinous concoctions currently on the market.' --Times Literary Supplement

'Nourishment in this novel takes various forms, although rarely are they wholesome...a brilliant black comedy seems bound to ensue.' --Daily Mail

'Woodward's style veers between self-consciously mundane postcard humour, effective evocations of humdrum domesticity and a single, searing moment of tragedy.' --Metro

'A compendium of long-held secrets, Nourishment excels in sharp plot turns and surprise chapter endings. As the action moves on, then loops back, from startling set piece to dramatic revelation...Woodward's writing is plain but his imagination is highly original...his bizarre scenarios shed an unsparing light on a period that is more often seen as a cosy backdrop to individual heroism or romantic love.' --Sunday Times

'English embarrassment and the equally English love of provoking it through farcical surprise or scatological shock are a large part of his stock in trade. At the same time, with his gift for pushing situations to their furthest possible extreme, he can strike notes of piercing anguish and joy. His sensibility seems to hover somewhere between Stanley Spencer and Benny Hill. . . . He began as a poet, and the virtues of English lyric poetry are carried over into his prose: verbal precision, detailed visual observation, arresting simile and metaphor. . . but his characters have a grandeur and excess . . . Line by line it is consistently inventive and witty, and there are great set pieces throughout (the loo scenes are done with particular gusto) . . .The gifts and facilities of a highly original writer are all on display.' --Guardian

'[Woodward] writes on a saga scale, but with a tragicomic domestic sensibility . . . Salty, crunchy, incongruously comforting - the combination is very Gerard Woodward.' --Literary Review

'Woodward's study of the ways in which we consume ourselves and those we love is surprising - and surprisingly charming - darkly witty and altogether brilliant.' --Easy Living

'From its outrageous beginning, this quietly funny novel takes a series of unpredictable turns. An engaging, slightly unhinged study of family life.' --Psychologies

'There are graceful comic touches in this portrait of lower middle-class life, and at the book's heart are some stimulating thoughts on our repression of our animal natures, and the liberating, if traumatic, ways in which war can affect this.' --Spectator

'Emotionally this is a demanding novel...archly humorous, benign, preoccupied with social nuances...Each part is characterised by the same easy, elegant prose... Nourishment is beautifully written.' --The Times

'A comic sensibility closer to Alan Bennett or Tom Sharpe. Woodward's rueful amusement isn't frivolity, it's a world view.' --Financial Times

'A new novel by Gerard Woodward is an appetising prospect... If Woodward generally writes well about women, he can be heartbreaking when writing about young men. The novel is warm, humane and funny. The social comedy blends into a picture of a starved man and a starved nation... The novel might easily have made this year's Booker longlist... it is a novel to be savoured, and Woodward is a novelist to be treasured. --Daily Telegraph

'Comically dark undertone' --Eastern Daily Press

'Woodward's latest, which open during the Blitz, takes the metaphor of nourishment and spreads it about as far as it can go, like a thrifty housewife cleverly eking out the weekly butter ration... Nourishment is a richly textured exploration of deprivation as a kind of death, of sustenance as growth... It's also a novel shrewdly written with an eye to disaster as a crucible for change.' --Sunday Telegraph

'Tragedy and high comedy uneasily intermingle. Awash with strange and secretive people who can't, or won't, communicate, and at all times bleakly hilarious, it is also, despite the obliquity of its approach, surprisingly moving.' --Waterstone's Books Quarterly

'Woodward's feeling for the social mores of the period is as impressive as his tongue-in-cheek humour.' --Mail On Sunday

From the Back Cover

‘Woodward’s study of the ways in which we consume ourselves and those we love is surprising – and surprisingly charming – darkly witty and altogether brilliant’ Easy Living The English are an unusual bunch: quirky and eccentric, often reserved and reticent, but always strong and resilient. Tory Pace, the heroine of this beautifully written and hilarious black comedy, is all of these things. Typically, she’s trying to make the best of life in a difficult time: struggling, as only a mother can, to sustain her family in a land starved of nourishment. But like so many triumphs over adversity, her survival comes with a heavy price. Beginning shortly after the outbreak of war and continuing into the deftly drawn austerity years that followed, Woodward offers a generous family saga. Equally memorable for poignant moments of sadness, comic tableau, witty observations and unforgettable characters, Nourishment is a novel like no other – every bit as unique and charming as an English family, in fact. ‘Engrossing and witty . . . a deeply satisfying book – more akin to a filling roast dinner than to some of the gelatinous concoctions currently on the market.’ Times Literary Supplement ‘Salty, crunchy, incongruously comforting’ Literary Review ‘The gifts and facilities of a highly original writer are all on display’ Guardian --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tory and Donald did not have a good war... 15 Mar 2011
By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Gerard Woodward writes slightly lurid family sagas. The Jones family in his previous novels had a fondness for drink. In a slight departure, Tory and her mother, Mrs Heads, have a fondness for meat.

Most of Nourishment is set in and shortly after the Second World War and follows Tory's immediate family. At first, Tory, husband Donald is away flighting and her children have been evacuated to the countryside. Tory finds new independence working at the gelatine factory; she embraces the freedoms that are thrust upon her.

Meanwhile, Donald and the children are changed by their various experiences. At least, we assume they are changed. The only reference point is Tory's own memory and there is a possibility that she may have idealized her young family in the face of her immediate privations.

Certainly, when Donald and the children return, they don't slot into any recognizable form of family bliss. Instead, there is an exercise in getting to know one another afresh; of adjustment and adaptation to new circumstances. Donald and Tory and Donald did not have a good war, and they seem determined not to have a good peace either.

The story as it unfolds is a mixture of humour, pathos and slight horror. There's an internal cringe factor that makes one say: "did she really say that?" or "did he really do that?". There is genuine sadness, too, but without ever creating a novel that feels unbearably bleak. It would be wrong to give away the plot details - even though this is not really a plot driven novel. Suffice to say that they inject fresh life just before the current direction gets stale. The real strength, though, is in the creation of slightly cartoonish characters and putting them into the most immaculately depicted settings.

As a final grace, the ending is sublime. Arising from the sadness, the waste and the despair we have a final moment of exquisite hope for the future. And who knows, perhaps for a sequel.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing, poor title, terrible blurb 2 Sep 2010
By Roland Cassard VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am very glad I read this book, although I very nearly didn't after reading the blurb on the jacket. It feels to me like whoever wrote the jacket description concentrated on the most sensationalist aspects of the novel - dirty letters! cannibalism! world hunger! - and, consequently, did the author a great disservice as the book is much better, and much more, than that. The fact is that Tory's 'quest' to write these letters takes up a very small part of the book and the exact contents of the dirty letters are never fully disclosed to the reader. The real meat of the story is Gerard Woodward's descriptions of relationships between men and women: between Tory and her husband, Tory and her lover, Tory and her two sons. There are lots of locked doors and barred entrances (Tory is horrified by the suggestion made by a female friend that they should sneak into the men's public lavatory to see what it looks like) and Tory's husband is himself a brick wall, refusing to speak of his time in POW camps. The book takes the idea of women's empowerment during the Second World War, having to work in the factories as their men are shipped out to fight the Nazis, and fashions out of that idea a compelling narrative of a woman trying to find happiness, order and, yes, nourishment in her life.

There are a few missteps: a half-hearted bit of lesbianism brought an (unfavourable) comparison to Sarah Waters' The Night Watch; the manner in which Tory finally rids herself of her husband I found just odd; and the protein pills sub-plot also seemed strangely out of place and I dreaded it whenever the topic came up in the novel. Overall though, the book is very well paced with much dark humour and subtlety of emotion.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful read set in World War II 15 April 2011
By Mimi Moor VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Living in London with her widowed mother, with her children evacuated to the countryside, and her husband missing in action - presumed dead, a life of quiet austerity has become the norm for Tory. A letter changes everything. Her husband Donald writes that he's in a prisoner of war camp, that he's alive and well and could she send him a dirty letter by return.

Eventually Tory's efforts to fulfil her wifely duties by mail lead to many unexpected consequences. When Donald returns after the war, a difficult and damaged man, there are many threads of pain and lies and unpleasantness to unravel.

Despite the unusual central theme this is a well written tale which unfolds in unexpected ways and leads to a complex of family issues.

Well worth the time you invest.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Peculiar, and not entirely cohesive 9 Nov 2010
By purplepadma VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It's early on in the London Blitz. Tory Pace is managing at home alone - her husband Donald is missing and probably dead, and her children have been evacuated - and is conscripted to work in a local gelatine factory. Her mother, referred to even by her own daughter as Mrs Head, makes a rather unwelcome return from her country retirement to live with Tory, and takes over the domestic arrangements, scouring the local shops each day to see what she can obtain with their ration coupons. Mrs Head's antagonistic relationship with Mr Dando the butcher is drawn to a close when his shop is bombed out and she salvages (not loots! Mrs Head is not a looter!) a joint of pork embedded in a wall on the opposite side of the street. Or perhaps, as Tory points out once it has been roasted, it isn't pork at all; perhaps it Mr Dando's leg. The meat is eaten anyway, despite any moral qualms.

Soon after, Tory receives a letter from a German Prisoner of War camp - Donald is alive after all, having been captured in North Africa. Her relief is quickly replaced by dismay, when she finds that the bulk of the letter contains a request for her to write a sexually explicit letter by return of post. Tory replies that he can expect her to do no such thing, but the written requests keep coming and become more and more insistent. Although Tory begins to feel that she should grant his request to alleviate his suffering, she lacks the erotic vocabulary to do so until she falls into a sexual relationship with Mr Farraway, the owner of the gelatine factory, who has a penchant for describing aloud the sexual acts they carry out.

This is novel in which sex, death, and food are all irrevocably intertwined.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bacon & Ham, Love & Sex
Private Donald Midlothian is a prisoner in various German camps throughout the war. Back home his wife Tory, and mother-in-law, known throughout as Mrs Head, are struggling with... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Eileen Shaw
4.0 out of 5 stars Addictively peculiar
As delectably depraved and darkly humorous as the Jones trilogy (August etc), even if these characters are less wacky and more punished by life. Read more
Published 11 months ago by crookedt
4.0 out of 5 stars "I don't think anything has been quite the same since we ate Mr....
Gerard Woodward has been one of England's most iconoclastic literary authors, rejecting all the polite expectations of writing and society by creating novels that seem, on the... Read more
Published on 24 Oct 2011 by Mary Whipple
1.0 out of 5 stars Shockingly bad, and I love this writer
I have read almost all of Gerard Woodward's other books and really thought they were the work of a genius. Read more
Published on 5 Sep 2011 by emma who reads a lot
4.0 out of 5 stars Austerity and After
This is a gritty novel about survival in wartime austerity. It is saturated in atmosphere - the London Blitz, warwork in sleazy joints,the seedy world of illicit stills, soft... Read more
Published on 16 July 2011 by Mr. D. James
1.0 out of 5 stars Really Disappointing
I really enjoyed Woodward's earlier books- a trilogy comprising 'August, 'I'll Go to Bed at Noon' and 'A Curious Earth'. In comparison,'Nourishment ' was a poor, pedestrian read. Read more
Published on 6 Jun 2011 by N. B. Werner
3.0 out of 5 stars Undernourished...
I think that Gerard Woodward is a good writer but overall I found this book very dull - possibly the result of its dull suburban location and its setting during the war and the... Read more
Published on 30 Dec 2010 by G. E. Harrison
3.0 out of 5 stars an oddity
The plot of this novel covers the years from 1941 to 1958 or thereabouts. The first part - which I enjoyed a good deal - covers the experience of Tory Pace, whose husband is a PoW... Read more
Published on 26 Dec 2010 by William Jordan
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing, poignant and unexpected
Tory has no idea what to make of it when her husband a p.o.w. in North Africa asks her for a dirty letter. Read more
Published on 29 Oct 2010 by Voracious for Books
4.0 out of 5 stars First half is perfectly poised, the second half didn't quite keep the...
Nourishment is a great novel - very easy to read but nevertheless giving an honest, funny and revealing insight into life at home during the second world war. Read more
Published on 18 Oct 2010 by Max
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback