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The Report
 
 

The Report [Kindle Edition]

Jessica Francis Kane
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Review

'A sober, thoughtful book that asks how history views the responsibilities of authorities in times of tragedy.' --Metro, ****

'An artful piece of work ... As a documentary novel, The Report gains from the virtues of both forms.' --Times Literary Supplement

`A smart and troubling novel of ideas which explores the power of crowds and collective guilt' --Financial Times

'An astute and subtle meditation on whether a written account of a traumatic event can ever satisfy all its objectives' --Telegraph

'Composed yet rawly emotional ... An East End ravaged by the blitz is powerfully recreated'
--Guardian

Review

PRAISE FOR" THE REPORT"
"[Kane] moves deftly among perspectives on the [Bethnal Green] catastrophe: We eavesdrop on war-battered townsfolk, the tardy policeman, the overburdened priest, the devastated shelter-chief who feels responsible. Kane's command of period detail is marvelous. . . . A deft, vivid first novel."
--"Kirkus Reviews"
"Kane skillfully reimagines the empathetic [Laurence] Dunne as he interprets the confessions and accusations of a community crushed by loss and guilt. . . . Meticulous historical detail and vivid descriptions of hunkered-down and rationed East Enders add a marvelous texture." --"Publishers Weekly"
"The Report is a graceful and dignified look at a single event that quickly becomes something so much more expansive: a kaleidoscopic examination of crowds, of disasters, of reverberations and reckoning. I was absolutely riveted." --Anthony Doerr, author of "Memory Wall" and "The Shell Collector"
"I began reading this story hoping it would aim my judgment at some one person who had made the fatal mistake. But "The Report "cracks that hope and replaces it--as only the bravest novels can do--with a vivid exploration of the events themselves in all their disquieting tangles. This book shows us that the single sin for which judgment hopes is a lie. The truth is not one misstep but a horde of them, hidden in a tunnel that this novel brilliantly excavates." --Salvatore Scibona, author of "The End "" """"An absorbing, thought-provoking first novel about a terrible civilian tragedy during wartime, "The Report" manages the delicate literary feat of being both a probing historical inquiry into a disaster, and a moving, multi-faceted portrait of a community under extreme duress. Jessica Francis Kane's authorial control of her material is impressive; the book's moral complexities linger long after the book is finished. A memorable debut."--John Burnham Schwartz, author of "The Commoner" and "Reservation Road" "Elegantly wr

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 462 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1555975658
  • Publisher: Portobello Books (3 Feb 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004P1JBAA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #84,663 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
The novel is based around the report of an inquiry into the deaths from suffocation, in 1943, of 173 people in a crush at the entrance to an underground station used as an air-raid shelter in Bethnal Green, East London. The siren had sounded but no air-raid materialised. A respected magistrate, Laurence Dunne, was commissioned to write a report for the government and this he did in three weeks, interviewing witnesses, rescuers and officials.

Predominantly through the eyes of eight-year old Tilley, her mother Ada, young clerk Bertram, vicar McNeely, and warden Low we are taken through the events and emotions and fears of the period. Thirty years on Tilley's adopted brother, Paul, is making a documentary film of the tragedy and interviews the report's author. The conflicts between the elderly retired magistrate who wanted his report to bring an understanding of the tragedy rather than allot blame and the young filmmaker who still sees in black and white, truth and wrongness, are well observed. "Your parents said that I knew the crowd wasn't guilty. ... What's the opposite of guilty?', "Innocent?" "Well, they weren't that, either."

Herbert Morrison, the government minister remembered only for his shelter, sat on the report and it wasn't published until after the war. In 1943 I was seven, lived in the London suburbs only about 16 miles from Bethnal Green, was an avid listener to the news on the wireless (and slept many nights in a Morrison shelter). Yet the real tragic events described were new to me. Bad news did not escape government censorship. Likewise a first to me was a description of sewing circles making topographical quilts of German landscapes for the Royal Air Force.

Jessica Francis Kane has woven her characters, their feelings, emotions, reasons, opinions and fears into a compelling novel which I found difficult to put down.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"The Bethnal Green Tube shelter disaster took place on the evening of Wednesday March 3, 1943.

173 people died in a terrifying crush as panic spread through the crowds of people trying to enter the station's bomb shelter in the East End of London.

However, no bomb struck and not a single casualty was the direct result of military aggression, making it the deadliest civilian incident of World War Two."

Jessica Francis Kane, read the full historical transcript of the enquiry into this, the worst civilian disaster of the Second World War, and she used what she read as the basis of her debut novel, a wonderfully vivid picture of people living through the event and its aftermath.

She tells her story through a number of characters: A mother who lost her younger daughter; her elder daughter, who survived but would not speak; the warden of the shelter, devastated by what has happened; a young man who was delayed, who wonders if he might have been able to make a difference;a vicar, looking for answers, wanting to offer comfort and support...

All of their stories are beautifully observed, with just the right details picked to illuminate those lives. A hand held too tightly. A wireless turned up to mask a conversation. A breakfast left untouched. The picture is clear, and it is moving without ever becoming sentimental.

It falls to Lawrence Dunne, the local magistrate, to investigate and report on what happened. A fundamentally good man, he wanted to understand, he wanted lessons to be learned, and he wanted to show understanding of what people had been through, of what they had to endure in wartime conditions.

His story added another dimension.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a chore 20 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was our book club choice so had to persevere with it even though I really was not enjoying the book. Was exactly what the title explained A Report. We all found it very hard work, we were waiting for the characters to develop and become interesting but this never happened. Think it lost its way about half way through and so did we!! Not one to recommend.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The curate's egg 20 Oct 2011
By katseyes VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was looking forward to reading this book as it was about something relatively recent in history, and also something I knew nothing about. However I found it confusing as the story seems to jump about quite a lot and I had to keep referring back to check who was who. There seem to be several sub plots weaving through it, which unfortunately I struggled to keep up with. The characterisation I found good, but to be honest I almost didn't finish it as I'd lost interest and concentration about three quarters of the way through. I quite literally lost the plot. It is actually well written and the factual element of it is excellent, but I would have enjoyed it much more had it been less complicated.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten tragedy 27 Mar 2011
By Eleanor TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Bethnal Green tube station disaster was Britain's worst wartime loss of civilians. On the 3rd of March 1943 a crush occurred among those trying to access the station which was being used as an air raid shelter; 173 people died. This novel is a fictionalized account of the event and its aftermath with the action alternating between 1943 and 1973. Its themes include the psychology of crowds, the way in which we impose a story on events, and the need for people to apportion blame.

I thought this was a brilliant book: quiet, clever, and thoughtful, but having a strong emotional effect. Kane convincingly recreates the fraught wartime atmosphere of Bethnal Green, as well as its repercussions thirty years on. The horror of the crush and the grief of the characters felt hideously real and Kane pulls no punches in exploring the unpleasant side of human nature, but also the idea that 'people aren't as bad as the worst thing they do'. The author is American but the English setting and the dialogue felt authentic and I don't think she put a foot wrong; I have read books where this is not the case and the results can be excruciating.

At one point Kane writes: "The tragedy does not remain the story. As with any public property it is transformed by use.". This novel is based on a real event and some of its victims are still alive, as are the relatives of the dead, and it would be interesting to know what they make of it. The author's note explains that much has been fictionalized and I think it is important to bear that in mind given some of the revelations in the book. I'm glad, however, that this event has been written about, especially as it was hushed up during the war and a commemorative plaque was only put up in the station itself in 1993.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A quiet triumph
This is an extraordinary achievement of re-imagination of a single incident in the Second World War, the Bethnal Green Tube disaster of 1943. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Stephen
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
Having worked in Bethnal Green in the 70's and having visited relatives there in the 50's, this book brought out the character and spirit of the people. Read more
Published 2 months ago by catflap
4.0 out of 5 stars What is fact and what is fiction?
A fictionalised version of a true story. Surprisingly this was the largest single casualty of WW2 and yet was not due to bombing, is little known and has taken an American to write... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Book chatter
5.0 out of 5 stars Factually correct?
I really enjoyed this. I had, of course, heard about this incident and was interested to read more about it. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars The Dubious Value of Blame
Jessica Francis Kane's first novel is a fictionalized account of a real disaster that took place at Bethnal Green Underground Station in 1943 - on the evening of an airraid, the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Kate Hopkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Reflective and thought provoking
This book gives a good insight to this often little unknown tragedy. When you think it was the largest loss of life on the underground and involved the deaths of over sixty... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Ian Tulloch
4.0 out of 5 stars Fictional retelling of a real event handled really well
I enjoyed this fictional account of the Bethnal Green disaster of 1943. The underground station that was under construction at the time was used as an air raid shelter during the... Read more
Published 16 months ago by B. Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars very good
very good pleased ( i will not write words that I do not want to write even to make it 17 words)
Published 16 months ago by G. poa
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that weaves fact and fiction together effortlessly
I was interested in the theme of the book, set in relatively recent history and knowing very little of the tragedy itself, it took very little getting into, there were a handful of... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Charlie&Molly
4.0 out of 5 stars moving little known slice of wartime London history
This is a fictional story based on the enquiry into the tragic deaths of 173 people (mostly women and children) who were crushed to death on the steps leading down to Bethnal Green... Read more
Published 17 months ago by John Hopper
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