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Raking The Ashes Paperback – 5 Jun 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; New Ed edition (5 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552772852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552772853
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 669,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anne Fine leads a double life as an author. Of her eight novels for adult readers, she describes seven as black comedies and the first, The Killjoy, as simply 'dead black'. These adult novels cause readers to squirm with mingled horror and delight as she peels away the layers in all too familiar family relationships, exposing the tangled threads and conflicts beneath. It's therefore perhaps not surprising that Anne has openly expressed astonishment at the fact that murder in the domestic setting is not more common.
A great favourite for discussions in reading groups, Anne Fine's work has been published in over forty-five languages. Despite this, she remains best known in her home country, Britain, as a writer principally for children. She has twice won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Awards, the Guardian Children's Book Prize and numerous other prizes and awards. She was the second Children's Laureate from 2001-3, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was awarded an OBE for services to children's literature.
Anne Fine is an entertaining and engaging speaker on the subject of books and reading, and is in demand the world over for her tireless enthusiasm, common sense approach to literacy, and for the deliciously wicked humour that permeates all her writing.
Find out more about Anne's dual lives at www.annefine.co.uk

Product Description

Review

"'So savage and sharp in its insights that it cuts, this is a brilliantly compulsive, forensic dissection of a relationship built on ironies and evasions'" (The Times)

"'A fearless novelist . . . also a constantly amusing writer. The result is an unsettling, sometimes angry but always engrossing story'" (Independent)

"'Deftly plotted'" (Daily Mail)

"'A very admirable and compelling novel'" (Daily Mirror)

"'[A] remarkable novel...there is something terrifyingly recognisable in each of the characters that will have readers looking deep inside their souls'" (The Observer)

Book Description

A coruscating comedy about the ties that bind more savagely than any other - those of families.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bizgen on 5 May 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
A black comedy, Tilly, successful in her work as an engineer on an oil-rig, marries lazy, `anything for a quiet life' Geoffrey with his two miserable children.

We join the story when we find that Tilly has not been consulted about the wedding of his son - the family know that that particular date is always ear-marked for the date in June when Tilly has to undertake an annual inspection - unexpectedly, however, she finds she is suddenly able to attend. I loved the last sentence of the chapter which says it all, ``I was as free as anyone to celebrate the beginning of Tara and Harry's life together. And start looking forward to the end of our own."
She doesn't pretend to be a `nice' person. She can hold her own in business, can bed lovers when away from home, uncomplainingly foots the bill for alternative treatment for Geoffrey's first wife's cancer and looks after his children on and off for twenty years. But she can't grasp the freedom she desperately seeks.

Anne Fine is the master of the deeply flawed character, the situations that people get themselves into and can't escape, at least, not polite intelligent middle England types inured by a lifetime of being expected to accept far too much from each other. It is extremely witty and is surprisingly sensitive. You can't really like Tilly, but you feel for her in many ways. I loved the book, and was delightfully appalled by the ending. Thoroughly recommended.

Available on Kindle, but too expensive - I already have the paperback - would have bought a Kindle copy had it been reasonably priced.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 18 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
Geoffrey is a lovely man in most respects. Marriage to the impossible Frances has broken down but he gets his two children, Minna and Harry, for tea once a week and to stay every other weekend. He is kind and considerate, but he doesn't like to confront trouble, so he evades the truth rather too often.

His girlfriend Tilly is quite a different sort of person. It's her house they are living in and she has rather a good job as an engineer, ensuring that oil rigs don't break down. Tilly has done all she can to fit in with Geoffrey's family, but she still feels as if his ex-wife treats her like a suspect and incompetent baby-sitter, so it's probably good that Tilly is away a lot with her job.

Tilly is the narrator of this tale so we only get her version of things, but it is not hard to see through the acerbic persona she favours to the somewhat embittered and revengeful monster lurking within. A lot of what Tilly espouses is feminist good sense. Men, it is true, prefer on the whole not to confront what is going on behind their back. They are good at swallowing the gruel with the caviar and looking on the bright side. But women like Tilly are not inclined to let them get away with it. Tilly catches on to Geoffrey's moral dissembling once too often, and she decides to have her final revenge.

This is a beautifully enraged and lucidly intelligent little story, full of spite and elision and sparkling with the kind of wit that delights and half-shocks. The ending, however, might be a shock too far.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jaybird on 18 April 2007
Format: Paperback
Raking the Ashes is another brilliant book from Anne Fine, although Telling Liddy remains my favourite.

The book discusses the breakdown of a relationship from the point of view of the woman, Tilly. She is a feisty and confident, a health and safety engineer on an oil rig. Tilly is a woman you go to if you want a problem solved, not for a sympathetic hearing. She has no female friends, a dementing mother, and an ambivalent relationship with her stepchildren.

Her partner is kindness and consideration itself; everyone loves him. But, he will do anything to avoid confrontation, preferring to stick his head in the sand no matter what the problem.

The book is the story of the relationship, with Tilly considering leaving but then not quite managing it.

Anne Fine always writes well and this book is no exception.

Why not 5 stars? Well, the ending felt a little tacked on to me. Otherwise, as a dissection of human foibles, this book is highly recommended.
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By Joanna on 23 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback
This book is a compelling read and the reader is taken inside the mind of the narrator. At times I felt irritated that she didn't just leave him. I wanted her to get up and go but I could empathise. It is hard to leave relationships plain and simple. The ending felt a bit 'tacked on' and not in keeping with what had happened. It was as ifs she couldn't think of a suitable ending so decided to kill him off conveniently. It was a pointless end and could have been more dramatic if their parting had been a dramatic one involving surprise and shock.
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