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Scissors, Paper, Stone [Paperback]

Elizabeth Day
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
Price: 7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Paperback, 2 Feb 2012 7.99  
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Book Description

2 Feb 2012
As Charles Redfern lies motionless in hospital, his wife Anne and daughter Charlotte are forced to confront their relationships with him - and with each other. Anne, once beautiful and clever, has paled in the shadow of her husband's dominance. Charlotte, meanwhile, is battling with her own inner darkness and is desperate to prevent her relationship with her not-yet-divorced lover from disintegrating.

As the full truth of Charles's hold over them is brought to light, both women must reconcile themselves with the choices they have made, the secrets they have kept, and the uncertain future that now lies ahead of them.

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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 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 131,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally readable 5 May 2012
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely magnificent 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Prose 27 Aug 2012
This is an elequently and artfully written novel which deals with the hideous things which can lie under the surface of apparently normal life. The characterisation is brilliantly drawn and there's a haunting tension which carries the book along. It's a really beautiful book which conveys both cruelty and the possibilty of woring through adversity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable and absorbing 30 July 2012
By A. Non
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 23 April 2012
By Dot
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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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scissors Paper Stone reviewed 1 Feb 2011
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.
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An Involving and Unsettling Story
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... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Susie B
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
very thought provoking and made me examine my own relationship with my parents. Very touching in places and sensitively written.
Published 6 months ago by GreenReader
4.0 out of 5 stars Depressing
The author certainly has a handle on emotions and is an excellent writer but I was pleased to finish this book because I found it so depressing.
Published 6 months ago by B. Cole
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely Addictive.
What a fantastic book this is. Within the first few pages it is apparent that there are problems within this family, but there is much more to come. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Basement Cat
4.0 out of 5 stars Believable Plot
This is a very well thought out and readable book. I have found it an incredibly sad and depressing story that is very believable. Read more
Published 7 months ago by goodwc
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustrated? Angry? Change the furniture!
The reviews on the book's cover give glowing testimonials to this journalist`s first published novel. Read more
Published 10 months ago by M. Dunlop Ferraro
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book at every level
A writer to be followed?
I think I will need to read this more than once.
Accurate and empathetic.
Published 11 months ago by Caroline Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars used books
recommend this site strongly for used books ,quality never fails .The front cover accurately described the contents ,had heard the book read on BBC radio 4extra
Published 12 months ago by Sjkirby
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok.
I felt this book was flawed, The portrayal of the daughter was good and believable buth somehow that of the mother fell flat, well it was flat and I didn't feel I knew anymore... Read more
Published 13 months ago by moonface
4.0 out of 5 stars A powerful, moving tale
This is a brilliant debut novel, full of emotional truths and ever so sad. I would have given it five stars except that it is at times a little over-written, with just a bit too... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Victoria Blessing
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