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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: 245,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

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

11 of 11 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Susie B TOP 50 REVIEWER on 19 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anne Eliott, an attractive and intelligent, but inexperienced young woman meets Charles Redfern, tall, broad-shouldered and golden-haired, when they are both studying at Cambridge and thinks of him as a Greek god. When he proposes to her, Anne accepts immediately, despite advice from her girlfriend that Charles is 'uncontainable' and not the right person for her. Thirty four years later, locked in a bitterly unhappy marriage, Anne has lost her looks, her confidence and her self-respect, and is in danger of losing the affection of her only child, thirty-year-old Charlotte. When Charles is knocked off his bicycle and ends up in a hospital bed, lying in a coma, Anne and Charlotte are forced into spending time together at his bedside, and before long it becomes evident that both mother and daughter need to confront the fact that Charles is a cold, manipulative bully who has been a terrible husband and an even worse father. And as Charlotte tries to face the truth of her father's warped feelings towards her, and as she struggles to cope with her anger towards her mother for not protecting her, Charlotte's despair and grief begins to spill over into her relationship with Gabriel, her not-yet-divorced lover. (No spoilers, we learn all of this early on in the novel).

Elizabeth Day's disturbing, yet readable story of a dysfunctional family is beautifully written and the author has been brave in her choice of subject for a first novel. Anne's and Charlotte's situation is well-depicted by the author, although the intensity of the lives of the main protagonists overshadows the other characters in the story and Charlotte's boyfriend, Gabriel, comes across as rather one-dimensional and a little bit too good to be true - as does Anne's kind friend, Janet.
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