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The Ruby Slippers [Kindle Edition]

Keir Alexander
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

Old Rosa the bag lady shuffles along the streets of New York, stinking, silent and shunned by man and beast. Time and again her nephew, Michael Marcinkus the grocer, has tried to help – but Rosa remains unknowable, hushed inside her hulk.

On the day of the St Patrick’s Day Parade, Rosa is in a terrible accident. As she lies in hospital, Mr Marcinkus visits her squalid apartment and unearths something remarkable from the monstrous piles of junk: two glittering pieces of Hollywood history. How on earth does decrepit old Rosa come to own such a treasure? And what is to be done with it now?

Word of Rosa's ‘Ruby Millions’ soon gets out, and these old articles of faith become an irresistible beacon for the misplaced hopes and darkest desires of an unforgettable cast of characters. Lives are changed, relationships tested and real values challenged. But in the hunger to possess the prize, will anyone stop to learn the incredible story of the woman to whom they once belonged?

The Ruby Slippers is a rare and moving story about the search for meaning, and the meaning of value.

Product Description


This emotionally charged story had us hooked. (Bella)

A lively and highly atmospheric story. (Image Magazine)

A remarkable and thought-provoking debut novel, which immediately becomes a compulsive read. Written with great eloquence, the tale transports you into an everyday reality filled with exquisite loss and longing. With harrowing memories of the savagery of Nazi Germany, tantalising glimpses into the 1930s film industry and the wonderfully enigmatic ruby slippers (which introduce a dusting of glittery optimism); the novel focuses on the very human traits of hope and love. This is a book to cherish, to become friends with; the encounter leaves you thoroughly satisfied and yet still wondering, can the hope of something actually be more magical than the reality of it? (Love Reading)

One fabulous, iconic item is the link that binds together a story that is terribly clever, a little whimsical, but utterly human at its centre. At times very funny, and sometimes very very sad, Keir Alexander is a gifted author. (Random Things Through My Letterbox)

The Ruby Slippers is the type of book I absolutely love . . . Very enjoyable and extremely well-written. Sad and poignant at times, the story also offers hope and a promise of a better life. (Brook Cottage Books)

How can a smelly old bag lady change your life? That is exactly what the characters in this social drama thought about their unkempt acquaintance, Rosa . . . Keir Alexander's debut novel has shown mastery over plot and character building. Creating many multi-dimensional characters in a compelling and convoluted story is no mean feat. (The Book Drifter)

A really enjoyable read from a consummate writer. (Culturefly)

An accomplished debut . . . The need to find out just a little bit more kept me turning the pages with real enjoyment. (Jaffa Reads Too)

An extremely well-written debut. (My Reading Corner)

A bittersweet story that will leave you genuinely touched. (Codex)

Book Description

Bursting with atmosphere, an unforgettable cast of characters, and set against a New York skyline, The Ruby Slippers is a sweeping story of hidden treasures, forgotten histories, lost connections, and the search for true meaning: LET THE RUBY SLIPPERS BRING SOME GOOD INTO YOUR LIFE...

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1072 KB
  • Print Length: 433 pages
  • Publisher: Corsair (6 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GHK76J0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #50,943 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's no place like home 21 July 2014
By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Ruby Slippers are, of course, the shoes worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard Of Oz. And, as everybody knows, if you click the heels three times and repeat “there’s no place like home”, then home is where you go.

In Keir Alexander’s novel, we meet an old bag lady, Rosa, and her dog Barrell as they buy provisions from the Sunrise delicatessen, run by Michael Marcinkus. Michael is, we discover, Rosa’s nephew. As it goes, Michael is one to harbour a grudge and he has a pretty big grudge against Rosa who, it seems had swanned off to Hollywood to live it up whilst Michael and his family were left behind to face first the Germans and then the Russians in wartime Latvia. However, Michael knows that Rosa has a pair of Judy Garland’s ruby slippers stashed away somewhere in her rubbish strewn apartment and when the opportunity arises…

The novel is one that follows a group of disparate characters and switches back and forth between storylines every page or two. We follow Michael; a gay man, James, visiting his dying partner in hospital; Siobhan, a teenage girl; Harrison, a delinquent black kid who hangs around across the road from Michael’s deli; Malachi McBride, a lonely man in a wheelchair; and various bit part characters. Then, there is a long letter from Rosa, giving us the background to her migration and early years in the United States.

The stories are well crafted and interlink just enough to create a coherent whole without relying on Dickensian coincidences.

The ruby slippers themselves keep a low profile for much of the book. They are the MacGuffin that brings the characters together, allows then to display their true colours. But little by little, they steal their way into the story, representing dreams, memories, hope and love.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By K. J. Noyes TOP 500 REVIEWER
4.5 stars

The cover is a wonderful one. You instantly know something about the book, and you'd be right. I felt very much like I was in New York reading this. And yes, it's all about the famous Ruby Slippers.

But how did bag lady Rosa ever get hold of them? Rosa is the catalyst for a whole series of stories that converge on the coveted Wizard of Oz shoes. Involved in a traffic accident one day in New York, her nephew then goes to her apartment to sort through her belongings and discovers the ruby slippers hidden in a box. He also discovered they are authentic, really worn by Judy Garland. And Rosa has also left letters explaining her life's story.

This isn't really Rosa's story though. We do hear her voice in flashbacks as Michael, her deli owner nephew, reads her letters. And her story, and his connect. And with Harrison, the young man watching the ruby slippers from across the street... And James, the customer watching his lover die in hospital... And a teenage girl skipping school to head to the city to find her father... And the bitter old man and his put-upon nurse...

I love stories that seem so disparate but then gradually weave their way together. It's easier to do visually I feel, in a film, but I love Alexander's strands of story that entwine when you don't see the joins coming.

In a story about dreams, hope and family, the ruby slippers play a crucial role in having our characters brought together in different ways. I loved the ending, I thought it was perfect, very moving. It's a story you get caught up in, there are so many things you are willing to happen for various characters.

Very cinematic in its approach, would love to see the film of this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Sue Kichenside TOP 500 REVIEWER
We're in New York, actually, following the interlinked stories of aging deli owner Michael, James whose male partner is dying in hospital, teenager Siobhan who treks to the city to find her missing dad, rich bitter invalid McBride, young dude Harrison who hangs out on the corners and stinky old Rosa, the down-and-out owner of a pair of twinkling ruby slippers.

Coming to this directly after Friendship, another Manhattan tale, it was interesting to see how they compared. Friendship is written by an American resident of Brooklyn, Emily Gould, The Ruby Slippers is the debut novel from British writer Keir Alexander. The big question is: does he pull off an equally authentic New York 'accent'? At first yes, but as odd English words and expressions began creeping into the narrative, I'm afraid to say: no. The first blooper that struck me was the word "iffy" - I just can't imagine an American using the word.

And from there it all pretty much went downhill. The different plot strands started to repeat themselves and the denouement was wa-a-ay too protracted. A good editor should have helped a first-time writer to excise at least a hundred pages. It's a story - or rather, a set of stories - about learning to have empathy for others but at the end of it, I really did feel as though I'd walked more than a mile in the characters' shoes. And those ruby slippers pinched a bit by the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE RUBY SLIPPERS. 27 Oct. 2014
A book I don't particularly want to review. A book I'd much prefer to give you a copy of so that you too could discover the literary gem that is The Ruby Slippers.

Our October 2014 Reader's Group read, of all of the many books we have read this is only the third one that I've wanted a copy of for our shelves.

With a big (and I mean that in every sense of the word) cast of seemingly random characters who each have their own part to play in this debut novel,
the story traverses between Latvia at the start of WWII to present day America. Not always a feat an author manages to pull off without losing the reader but Keir Alexander does so with much aplomb. Rosa's tale from a free-spirited young woman, dresser to Miss Judy Garland, possessor of THE ruby slippers to 'stinking bag lady' (largely revealed to us bit by bit through notes she kept) though not perhaps as prominent as it might have been the linchpin on which the whole book hinges.

Full of pathos and yet also moments of unbridled happiness. A modern parable that proves there really is no place like home, this has to be one of, if not my favourite read of the year so far.

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Book club nomination and was a good read.
Published 2 months ago by
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. Where's Dorothy in all of this?!
I wasn't much of a fan of this one to tell you the truth. It definitely wasn't what I expected it to be, and perhaps that's my own fault. Read more
Published 3 months ago by S. Shamma
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating read
This book kept me captivated from the very start.I could not wait to pick it up each day to find out what would happen next to each of the characters. Read more
Published 6 months ago by irene a adley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent. A very good read. I do recommend this
Published 6 months ago by plynn
3.0 out of 5 stars not great
Reasonably written but not a great story. I read about 3/4s then skimmed to the end.
Published 7 months ago by Tiffany Ireland
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an excellent book - a compelling read
This is an excellent book - a compelling read. Who was the woman hidden behind the filthy clothes and what has made her like this? Read more
Published 7 months ago by Ann Walsh
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 8 months ago by AB Kennedy
4.0 out of 5 stars ... was expecting to read but if anything it was better. Always sucked...
The Ruby Slippers maybe wasn't quite what I was expecting to read but if anything it was better. Always sucked in by anything with a link to Oz, this story is less fantasy and more... Read more
Published 8 months ago by katiebeth101
3.0 out of 5 stars good reading
A good idea for a novel but didn't quite deliver. However, overall a good read and certainly one which is ideal for a beach holiday.
Published 9 months ago by Mr. Andrew Simpson
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Enjoyed
Really enjoyed this, and finished in a couple of days.
Seemed lots of different people in it at the beginning, but all came together at the end.
Great read!
Published 9 months ago by Chris
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