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The Crowded Bed [Paperback]

Mary Cavanagh
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Transita (19 Jan 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905175310
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905175314
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,338,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"The Crowded Bed is a skillfully complex, psychological piece full of high drama and murky secrets". -- The Oxford Times


Joe Fortune, a Jewish GP, has been married to Anna, his Aryan beauty, for twenty years, in a relationship that is sustained with great passion and happiness. But in the shadows of their lives, dark secrets are hidden. Joe has long nurtured a desire to murder Gordon, Anna's father; a motive born of past events and involving revenge, mutual hatred, and Gordon's deep prejudice for Joe's Judaism. 'If you wrong us, shall we not seek revenge?' Anna too is hiding deep, painful secrets. In a highly charged expose, the reader is led back and forth over the changing face of the last half century to discover love, lies, passion, religion, cruelty and violence. While the powerful Joe is revealed as angry and resentful, Anna's quiet dignity discloses her own extraordinary and shocking revelations.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not bad for a first book 18 Sep 2007
By palval
Is this a serious book, or a bonking book? The themes are very serious but not developed enough for me and had just too many issues to seem real. A bit too superficial.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Crowded Bed 1 Feb 2008
By Simon Thomas VINE VOICE
"Good evening, dear friend. I'm extremely pleased to see you, but I'm sure you'll understand why I can't give you my full attention. Joe Fortune is just about to kill his father-in-law, and I've no intention of missing this long awaited event."

So opens The Crowded Bed... Gosh.

The Crowded Bed follows Joe, a Jewish boy and later doctor, from childhood through various relationships and to just after the pivotal moment described. Like many recent novels I've read, the narrative jumps about a bit, so 'the present' is shown parallel to various sections of the past - though, like those novels too, it's not confusing. I found Joe a fairly repugnant character, but I think that's ok - he has manifold sins under his belt, and more or less his only redeeming trait is a deep love for his son. And an abiding love for Anna.

She's the other lass. Liked her. Despite her name, she's not Jewish - she's more like Botticelli's Venus, as shown on the cover. My favourite sections of this novel were the opening chapters, when the childhoods of Joe and Anna were depicted alongside each other, and thus contrasted. Where Joe has indulgent and proud parents, Anna had a vicious father and a passive mother. And a twin brother, a theme popping up in quite a few recent reads. Reading their childhoods in this comparative way is so revealing about the characters and the way they interrelate.

The path isn't smooth for Joe and Anna. That crowded bed gets pretty crowded as the novel progresses, and I'll keep schtum over whether or not they manage to kick everyone else out but, suffice to say, the shocks keep coming to the very end. Cavanagh has written a novel which is both gentle and vicious, warm and unsettling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read 24 April 2007
From page one this was an enjoyable and intriguing book, but from about half way through I couldn't put it down and HAD to find out what was going to happen (or had happened!) next.

The characters in the story were believable, and it was made easy to empathise with Joe and his situation. The additional depth given to Anna's character towards the end of the book was a pleasant surprise and kept me hanging on for more!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book from a new Author 15 April 2007
By Aly
I found this book echoes the style of Anita Shreve - and as I have read almost all her books now and have run out I need another author to read in the same style.

I could not put the book down from about half way through. I also liked the way the story gradually revealed more and more shocking facts about Anna's life as the book went on. She was an innocent victim I felt whereas Jo brought alot of his problems down on himself.

I found it very telling too that he was disapointed by his Father's reaction when he announced Daniel's news - like he had lived his whole life to try and please the quartet - only to find their values have changed for modern times and he is the one left behind!

An exellecnt book with surprises coming at you all the way through - but written in a very flowing style that was easy to read.

I now cannot wait for more books to be published by this author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding - a true 'classic' 19 Dec 2008
I bought this book after reading the author's recently published 'A man like any other', promising myself that I wouldn't open it until after Christmas. Famous last words! Again, I simply couldn't put it down. Mary is the only author I have come across who effectively gives away the end of the story on the first page without once losing the reader's interest, as another complex story unfolds, full of surprises and bizarre ramifications. For me, the only disadvantage is that in my haste to turn pages, I do not properly absorb all of the finer details, so it is a book that deserves rereading - in that sense a true 'classic' that will remain easily accessible on my shelves for years to come.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An engrossing book 21 Jan 2008
The Crowded Bed by Mary Cavanagh is a very well written and engrossing book. As some of the excitement is in the gradual unfolding of the plot, I will be brief lest I give the game away. It goes back and forth in time and looks at the lives of Jo and Anna and the various people who stand between them and their lives. This (the people crowding their `bed' so say) is the underlying theme of the book which combines the best elements of a thriller with the psychological insights into complex characters that makes for a good book. Against this backdrop the author also examines the theme of religious doubts and the tensions of inter faith marriage. Apart from the effortless ease with which the story reads, the reader will come across the all too familiar nuances of everyday life portrayed in a very endearing way. In short, an excellent read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down 7 Dec 2007
I love the structure of this book. It makes it a real page-turner as it gradually reveals its dark secrets. Not a who-dunnit, but definitely a "why-did-they-do-it?" and all the more fascinating for it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars New and exciting author... 8 Sep 2007
The only reason I even became aware of this book, was because I met Mary Cavanagh and some of the other Transitor authors at a talk in Burford, Oxfordshire. Each of the three authors read an extract of their books and Mary's was by far the most interesting and I immediately wanted to buy a copy and she even signed it for me! :)

During this talk, she mentioned that reviewing her book on Amazon was the best way to draw attention to it, due to the fact that Transitor is not a publisher which stocks the highstreet bookshops. The fact that this book isn't in all reputable book shops is a crime in my eyes. It was a dark, yet humourously told story, which was filled with surprises and believable characters. I enjoyed it immensely and agree with many of the other reviewers, when they say it was un-put-down-able!

I would suggest this book to anybody who enjoys trying something new by a great up and coming author.
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