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Shooting Butterflies [Hardcover]

Marika Cobbold
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
Price: 15.79 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 Feb 2003
By the time Grace is eighteen, she has been orphaned, moved countries and lost touch with her only brother. Talented, awkward and a little fierce, she can't help thinking that she's managed to lose anything she's ever loved. So when she decides to revisit her past in America, she wants to know exactly what shade her mother's lipstick was and who, exactly, she should be rebelling against. And she's brought her camera - she's going to catch these memories and pin them down to keep. What she isn't expecting that summer in New Hampshire is to meet the love of her life. Some years later, now divorced and flourishing as a controversial photographer, Grace lives alone - she likes the fact that everything will be exactly where she left it. Until Grace finds that she is, quite literally, being haunted by the past. In this, her fifth novel, bestselling writer Marika Cobbold brings her trademark wit and observation to this finely wrought and moving tale about someone who has to confront the choices of her life, both as an artist and a woman.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; 1st edition (3 Feb 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747558647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747558644
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,049,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"No one does it better than Cobbold" -- Observer

"You are instantly hooked. A moving, engrossing tale of love lost and found." -- Evening Times (Glasgow) February 22, 2003

"readers will flock to support her now her secret's out" -- Guardian Saturday

From the Publisher

Fans of Maggie O’Farrell and Sally Vickers will adore ‘Shooting Butterflies’

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Marika Cobbold is an extraordinary writer. The subtlety and authenticity of her observances are astounding. I loved her main characters and I found the structure of the book and the weaving of the main storylines to be really effective and ultimately moving. It is a sympathetic and realistic portrayal of the relationships between men and women and the way life and love happens. I found both Grace and Louisa to be very real characters. The dialogue was realistic and often witty and wry. I laughed out loud at this book and it also made me cry without being mawkish. To me it's most extraordinary quality was how it portrayed an authentic essence of how lives are lived. Brilliant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than meets the eye. 7 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been staring at an empty screen now for half an hour, wondering how I could best put in words why I loved this book so much but I find it very hard. What did come to mind was, had Tolstoy been a woman born in Sweden his name would have been Marika Cobbold and he'd have written shooting butterflies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fabulous read from Marika Cobbold 28 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm stunned there aren't at least a thousand five star reviews for any of Marika Cobbold's books. 'Frozen Music' took my breath away with it's freshness and idiosyncratic characters (the mother who, when widowed, stayed in bed and simply ate because now she could will remain one of my favourite supporting characters of a book for all time)and 'Shooting Butterflies' didn't disappoint.
I love the way Marika's female main characters are always so forthright, so un-daintily feminine and so much more than the usual drippy rom-commy females we generally see in women's contemporary fiction. They say what they think, think what they like and are never drawn in a syrupy-'love me do' fashion. These are real women, and as such I identified so well with Grace Shield, the heroine of this story. She had rubbish things happen to her but she got on with it. She seemed to have hardened corners but her character was the better drawn for it and more identifiable because of them. I found myself many times believing that I was actually Grace and this doesn't happen very often with books I read. Usually I am outside looking in; with Shooting Butterflies I 'got' everything Grace was going through.
If I ever write anything half as good as any of Marika's books then I shall die knowing I did well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and Witty 26 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Grace Shield is a photographer and one who has had an interesting and successful working life, winning awards for her impressive photographic work; however, when at the peak of her career she turns her back on her past success, many wonder what has happened to Grace to make her disappear from public view. When Grace receives a painting through the post from her dead lover, followed by the appearance of an intrusive newspaper article focusing on her failure to fulfil her promise and, more worryingly, on her unsettled private life, she is forced into the position of examining her life for herself. And Grace's past does seem rather tragic: she loses both parents; she falls deeply in love but is let down; she marries a man who finds it difficult to cope with her forceful and independent nature; she suffers several heartbreaking incidents and when she is re-united with the love of her life, something intervenes to cause yet more tragedy. (No spoilers - we learn most of this early in the novel and, moving backwards and forwards in time, this story is, in part, about how Grace copes with the tragedies that befall her).

While Grace is confronting her past life, she decides to take action by setting out to discover the real identity of the artist of the picture she has received from her deceased lover - and, more importantly, of why (like Grace herself) the artist seems to have disappeared at the height of their creative powers. This leads Grace yet again back to her past life and into the realms of an old family friend, Noah Blackstaff, and his elderly grandmother, Louisa, the wife of a well-known artist, who spent her life in the shadow of an over-bearing husband who belittled her artistic talents.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A weep-both-ways story....... 7 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a weep-both-ways story, with rare wit, making me both sad (as it touched on past events) and smiling in equal measure. We all know characters such as she describes with such brutal honesty, and they evoke such ambivalent responses...I especially appreciated her portrayal of the dysfunctional Abbot family.

The two narrators, Grace and Louisa, are kindred spirits, even though a couple of generations apart. Their present and past perceptions are woven together with skill, so as not to confuse the reader.

A good writer, as it says in the text, "opens a vein" sharing the highs and lows of our human pain and passions. I'm on a quest to find authors I've never read before, and in discovering Marika Cobbold, think I've struck gold.........
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A captivating story, elegant and heart warming 26 Feb 2011
This is the first Marika Cobbold novel I have read, and I will certainly be back for more. Her portrayal of human character is insightful; her writing is at times dark and uncomfortable, at others light and witty. Grace, the main character, is one I will remember acutely. She's an outsider, painfully flawed, and for me, entirely likeable. If she were real, I'd want her for my friend. As a result, I was with her throughout this story, which twists and turns as it weaves in and out of the enlightening tale of Louisa, another outsider from a different generation. The two stories collide, as we somehow know they will, but the revelations are quiet ones, subtle and satisfying in their telling. A touching, memorable read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Capturing Life in Art
'Shooting Butterflies' opens with Grace Shield, a successful photographer who has dramatically disappeared from the public view, receiving a package from her dead lover containing... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Kate Hopkins
4.0 out of 5 stars A lesson in life
This is my second time of reading - a change of age and circumstances has made its content all the more relevant the author has incredible understanding of age - how it affects the... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mrs Heather S Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet another wonderful book by Marika Cobbold
Reading a book by Marika Cobbold is more than just reading, it's living the experience. Shooting Butterflies is the story of people from complicated family backgrounds trying to... Read more
Published on 10 May 2012 by sue
4.0 out of 5 stars Chosen at random.
This was the first book I've read by this Author.

I found the story to be a like a slice of cake. Each chapter built layer upon layer as the story progresses. Read more
Published on 8 Sep 2010 by B. Robinson
2.0 out of 5 stars What a great title!
What a great title! Regrettably, the novel disappoints. Our book club felt the author produced a confused structure around the admirable character portrayals of Grace and Louisa. Read more
Published on 16 May 2007 by Book club reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Shooting butterflies
Cobbold is an extraordinary writer. There were moments in this book when I felt as if she knew my thoughts. Read more
Published on 22 Feb 2004 by "marthahalliwell"
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific new novel from a writer well worth waiting for.
Marika Cobbold's brilliantly witty and blackly comic writing manages both to point fun at the absurdities of life and, at the same time, to celebrate them. Read more
Published on 16 Feb 2003 by E. M. Buchan
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