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The Stormwatcher [Paperback]

Graham Joyce
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Mar 1998
In a restored farmhouse, James and his French wife Sabine, their two children and their friends sit uneasily. All are implicated in a tragedy which, in a matter of days, will sweep aside the web of deception they have built around their lives.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (5 Mar 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140269231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140269239
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Graham Joyce is such a wonderfully reliable writer. He creates strongly realised characters and plots that often have a slightly other-worldly twist, but never leave the reader in doubt that he is in command of the here and now. The effect is often subtle and running parallel to the twist is always the possibility of a rational or psychological explanation. In The Storm Watcher, Sabine and James are on holiday with their daughters Jessie (11) and Beth (7). James (who unknown to Sabine is paying for everyone) has invited Matt and Chrissie, and the subtext here is that Matt was recently `let go' from James's Advertising Agency. James has also invited Rachel, his secretary, with whom he has had an affair, though Sabine doesn't know about that.

It becomes quickly established that one of the guests has a particular and perhaps not entirely healthy `bond' with the eldest of the children, Jessie. We are not enlightened as to who this is until near the end of the book, which does generate some added tension - though there is already plenty of that in the various relationships. The guests visit caves, swim in the villa's pool and slowly, as storm-clouds gather, the deterioration of the holiday atmosphere contributes to a riveting climax when danger threatens one of the children.

No one is entirely blameless in this atmospheric and compelling story which ends with a strangely fitting tragedy. I found myself glued all the way to this marvellously evocative story.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting schizophrenia 8 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Joyce uses every childhood memory to create a feeling of discontent; he preys on traditions and uses pathetic fallacy at every turn to show the dysfunction that lies within us all. This is a somewhat melancholy book, designed to provoke a process of thought more than to satisfy curiosities. It is an incisive look at the way in which communication falls apart and the trauma of rebuilding bridges.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joyce rules 28 Oct 1999
By A Customer
Not better than Tooth Fairy but still very very good. My awe for Graham Joyce is growing by the book.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent. Nearly as good as the tooth fairy 11 Jun 1999
By A Customer
Read this. Then Read the Tooth Fairy.
Enough said.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The lying game 21 Jun 2005
By bonsai chicken - Published on
This novel, originally published in the U.K. in 1998, concerns a group of friends vacationing at a remote house in the French countryside. High-powered executive James, who suffers from an unknown chronic illness, his French wife Sabine, their two children Beth and Jessie, James' secretary Rachel, with whom he has had an affair sometime in the past, James' longtime friend Matt, who was employed by James until he was ostensibly made redundant, and Matt's wife Chrissie, whose open sexuality tends to make people uncomfortable. The story centers around Jessie, the precocious, disturbed eleven year-old who is being secretly tutored in forbidden knowledge by a mysterious instructor. Jessie becomes the catalyst for increased tensions and rapidly fraying relationships among the adults, all of whom have secrets from one another. The approaching storm in the title takes on more than one meaning...

It's hard to put a label on this book. Though there are a couple very frightening sequences and a lot of suspense, it's not horror. Nor does dark fantasy seem appropriate. Magical realism? Perhaps. There are some events of questionable reality, but whether they are literal or psychological aberrations is open to debate. What it most certainly is is a fascinating relationship drama involving some extraordinarily well-realized characters, and a dark-edged mystery. The story itself is brilliantly constructed almost in a puzzle-like fashion. The background of Jessie's instructor is told in a parallel narrative to the main story, until it all comes full circle at the end, evoking a kind of symmetry. Novels rarely come as perfect as this. I can't say enough about Graham Joyce. This is the third consecutive novel I've read of his and they just get better.

This Night Shade Books edition is signed and limited to 1000 copies.
5.0 out of 5 stars Graham Joyce is a great writer and all of his books are a rich ... 20 Sep 2014
By Lady Max - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Graham Joyce is a great writer and all of his books are a rich experience.
This is a really great read - pageturning, disturbing and beautifully crafted.
The twists and turns of personality are nicely echoed in those of plot.

THis will keep you up at night in a good way.
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