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Scissors, Paper, Stone Paperback – 2 Feb 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (2 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408821656
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408821657
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 363,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'The relationship between the two women is very well done - tense, hinting all the time at some fatal incident ...truly disturbing, utterly believable ... sensitive, never prurient' (Margaret Forster)

'Moving, terrifyingly real' (Observer)

'Day's subtle prose packs a powerfully disturbing punch as her understated yet candid handling of dark subjects reaches into the most raw and fragile parts of all of us ... Sad, delicate and convincing Scissors Paper Stone is a reminder of how the human need to love and be loved can destroy all that we hold dear. It's a striking debut novel from a talented writer' (Metro)

'A brave and thoughtful book ... As an attempt to analyse the dysfunctional web of relationships within an outwardly normal family, it's a courageous and sensitive story' (Independent)

Book Description

A frank and beautiful story of damage, survival and restoration from an exhilarating new literary voice

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Softtouch on 5 May 2012
Format: Paperback
Both me and my sister thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I've read it in three days and I teach full time but couldn't wait to get back into it. The author has a way of describing thoughts and feelings that really make you feel total empathy with each character. I was able to picture this novel like watching a drama on TV and feel the tension between the characters as if I were in the story with them. I highly recommend it as a good read and will be lending it to my friends immediately. I feel sad to have finished it and at a loss as to how to find something equally gripping and absorbing. Buy it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Non on 30 July 2012
Format: Paperback
From the second we meet our first protagonist, Anne, chopping vegetables in the kitchen for a casserole, Elizabeth Day makes it immediately apparent that there is something wrong with this family. Thoughout the book, she deftly draws unresolved tensions and makes the air stiflingly heavy with unsaid words, so that the reader feels discomfited throughout. She creates three characters who appear to be completely rounded. Anne - once beautiful and vibrant - now feeling crushed under the weight of her own disappointments and resentments, and still desperately longing for her husband's approval. Charles - who could have easily become a pantomime villain - who is, turns, manipulative, subtly abusive, and wilfully indifferent. And, the girl who had the misfortune to be born their daughter, Charlotte, is given a nuanced portrayal of a betrayal that left her determined to be in control of her life and the secrets of her past.

The story of the ramifications, years later, of a father's inappropriate interest is delicately handled. The descriptions of feelings - of guilt, disgust, apprehension - are all articulated excellently.

The novel loses a star from me because, while her main three characters appear very lifelike, her peripheral characters (Janet, Gabriel) are fairly one-dimensional. Gabriel, especially, came across as strictly a saintly character - full of patience and goodness - sent purely to help Charlotte to heal from her past. Also, while some of her descriptions are excellent, some of her other descriptions are extraneous (a person drinking coffee is said to feel the liquid running down their throat) or weak (she has a tendency to over-use "rolling [their] eyes").

But it's still a very good novel, and Elizabeth Day is an author I'll be watching out for in future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dot on 23 April 2012
Format: Paperback
I can't believe that this is Elizabeth Day's first novel as it is just brilliant. She explores the damage caused to individuals when they are hurt and betrayed by their own family members. In some ways it is quite a simple idea for a book yet the complex feelings and relationships presented in this story are far from simple.
Scissors Paper Stone jumps back and forth between the past and the present so we get a very detailed picture of how this family unit was created and then destroyed. Some parts make for very uncomfortable reading and I applaud Elizabeth Day for dealing with such a sensitive and taboo subject in an incredibly honest way. She manages to avoid clichés and I was completely absorbed by her story telling.
I can't write too much about the plot as it would spoil it. However, for me, this book was all about the writing. I felt that the author had a very strong writing style and I really hope that she has more books to offer in the future.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. K. Vaughan on 10 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's Wednesday evening and the middle of a working week . There are all sorts of jobs I should be doing , phone calls I should be making , clearing up I should be attempting. Instead I have sat here ignoring the chaos all around me and not able to move until I had finished this wonderful book. Such an insightful story so beautifully told .
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By KatherineSolomon on 1 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
When Charles Redfern is knocked off his bicycle and lapses into a coma, his wife Anne calmly carries on preparing the casserole for the family's dinner, barley missing a beat as she adds her vegetables to the pot and leaves to simmer. The barely-concealed hostility of this simple action quietly ignites the rest of Elizabeth Day's absorbing first novel.

Day, best known for her work as an award-winning features writer for The Observer, has taken as her first subject the damage and betrayal of a family in crisis. As Charles lies prone and fallible in hospital, the relationship between his wife and their daughter Charlotte is thrust under an uncomfortable spotlight. The chip of ice in the heart of Graham Greene's best authors is likewise at the centre of this family triangle. Charles, for years the brute heart of the family, never veers into comic villainy, but is beautifully drawn, hovering precariously between a recognisable form of middle-class passive cruelty and sheer indifference. His behaviour, which has over time subtly and insidiously hardened and splintered Anne's youthful effervescence, is deftly and elegantly handled by Day. As the strained relationships are stripped away, the gradual and unsettling sense of unease builds to the novel's shocking climax which threatens to engulf and overwhelm the fragility of the characters, each craving a resolution that is seemingly always just out of reach.
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Day's first novel is a triumph; a rich and rewarding novel from an author who has created realistic and moving characters, and who never overplays the difficult balance between tenderness and trauma. The novel dips effortlessly between the dramatic and the poetic, and lingers on long in the reader's memory.
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