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The Uninvited Guests Hardcover – 22 Mar 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (22 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701186712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701186715
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.7 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 311,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Sadie Jones is a novelist and screenwriter who was born and brought up in London. Her first novel, The Outcast ('Riveting', Lionel Shriver; 'Devastatingly good', Daily Mail) was the winner of the Costa First Novel Award. It was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize and was a Richard and Judy Summer Reads Number One bestseller.
Her second novel, Small Wars, ('Outstanding', The Times; 'One of the best books about the English at war ever', Joel Morris), was longlisted for the Orange Prize.
Her third, published in 2010, was The Uninvited Guests. ("...at once a shimmering comedy of manners and disturbing commentary on class... a brilliant novel." Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder. 'Delightful, eerie novel ... puts one in mind of Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black ...' The Daily Telegraph.)
Her most recent is Fallout, which will be published in May 2014. Sadie is married to the architect, Tim Boyd, and they live in West London with their two children.

Product Description

Review

"The Uninvited Guests is at once a shimmering comedy of manners and disturbing commentary on class. It is so well-written, so intricately plotted, that every page delivers some new astonishment. It is a brilliant novel" (Ann Patchett, author of 'State of Wonder')

"Dazzlingly well-written. The style is exuberant and extremely funny. This is a midsummer's night dream of a book, mythic and unforgettable" (Financial Times)

"Cooly playful...the luscious prose is precisely steered" (Helen Dunmore Guardian)

"Jones exhibits the attention to detail for which she has previously been praised, and her descriptions are memorable. The Uninvited Guests is a bizarre and exuberant comedy of manners, combining elements of romance with those of the carnival...it is a great deal of fun, and a welcome alternative to more traditional country-house dramas" (Hannah Rosefield Literary Review)

"What a delicious read! Like something written by a wicked Jane Austen, here is love and error in a ramshackle manor house complete with railway survivors, a birthday party and a pony. I was completely captivated by its madcap nature and then, utterly unprepared for the strange fruit that the story became. Passing like a spring fever, here is a fairy tale that stays with you long after it is gone. I couldn't put it down" (Sarah Blake, author of 'The Postmistress')

Book Description

The prizewinning and No 1 bestselling author Sadie Jones moves to a gorgeous and bewitching historical setting in a blissful new novel full of spooky surprises

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Book Angel on 16 Sep 2013
Format: Paperback
Downton Abbey its not. Forget about ghastly stereotypes and predictable "spot it coming a mile off" plot lines. This is a really clever, imaginative and totally gripping story about an Edwardian country house full of people in crisis in different and surprising ways. Parts are deliberately creepy but not in an obvious or explicit way - its subtle and pleasantly surprising. Other parts are very funny. One of the newpaper reviews said it was a "Midsummer Night's Dream of a story" and that its actually a wonderful description. Its not too heavy going at all - I got enthralled about half way through and had to read the whole second half one evening, which I did easily. I loved it. As long as you are not expecting a period drama with "lovely frocks" then you probably will too!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mr g wilson on 4 Oct 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of Sadie Jones' Outcast and Small Wars so this was a shock have to say. Nearly
'didn't carry on after the first few pages as a result - it was so bad, but glad I did as it developed into a quite gripping fantasy I really got into.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ray Garraty on 10 Sep 2013
Format: Hardcover
In the center of this tragicomedy is the Swift family. At the beginning of the XX century in a small village in England the Swift family owns an estate in the two houses, the New House and the Old House, as the owners call them. Widowed, three years after the death of her husband, Charlotte Torrington married a lawyer Edward Swift, one-handed, but a with good heart, a real gentleman who loves Charlotte, as she does him as well. The financial affairs of the family, however, are not so good, and to preserve the estate, Edward will have to take a large loan, and he is not sure he will get it. The older children of Charlotte, Emerald and Clovis, 19 and 20 years respectively, do not like his stepfather, but they see his love for their mother. The youngest daughter, Imogen, or Smudge, as everyone calls her, often dwells alone, forgotten by everybody. The mother loves her very much, but not always finds time to spend with her daughter. The girl grows a little bit strange.

All the events of the book actually take place in one day, and it is Emerald's birthday. On the eve Swift goes to the city for apply for a loan, and the family slowly begins to prepare for the birthday. Emerald waits for the arrival of her guests: her girlfriend Patience Sutton and her brother Ernest, who should come out of the city, as well as a wealthy gentleman, John Buchanan, still unmarried, living nearby in his own estate.

While maids help the birthday girl to smarten up and cook, Clovis, who met brother and sister Sutton at the station, has returned with unexpected news: there has been a railway accident, the locomotive derailed, and dozens of people can not continue their journey.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By F. Sewell on 1 Sep 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was really looking forward to reading this book, but it was such a disappointment. I just didn't get the point of it at all.

I have to admit I had to finish it because I hate not finishing a book, and wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt, to see if it actually got any better. However, it did not. I did not care for any of the characters, and there was definitely no tension whatsoever. I'm just astounded this ever got published. There was no proper plot, and the majority of it was ridiculous and predictable. Very, very disappointing. I wish I hadn't wasted my money!
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a fabulous book which I read in just over a day because I found it so hard to put down. On the surface, it's a period drama: the Torrington family are broke and about to lose their beloved family manor house, "Sterne". Step-father Edward goes off to try and borrow money so that they won't lose their home. We remain behind with the eccentric family: selfish matriarch Charlotte, daughter Emerald, son Clovis and youngest daughter Imogen ("Smudge"). The family are completely self-obsessed and living this amazing life of privilege which they are on the brink of losing altogether. It's the eve of Emerald's 20th birthday and they're having a party - something which fails to be organised properly due to the individual character's self-obsessions. Into the mix, is then thrown a rail accident and several "uninvited guests" who intrude on the party and throw the scene into yet further disarray. The guests then expose the family for what they are - but the guests aren't quite what they seem either...

Initially, this is a country house novel - the grand facade of the house masks the shallowness and superficiality of the characters within. It seems to be a novel about class and how the privileged amongst us abuse their position/take it for granted to the detriment of those who would have to travel third class in rail carriages. However, it's so much more - not least, it's the weirdest zombie novel you'll probably ever read. It's a really good read too - definitely recommend it (although to add a note here - from other reviews it seems to be like marmite - you either love it or hate it - I loved it, but there seem to be plenty out there who didn't!)
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Format: Hardcover
This is a bizarre and fantastic story, which takes place over 24 hours in Sterne – a substantial English country house. But the Swifts, the impoverished owners, are in danger of losing its beloved home. There is no definite indication of the time in which the story is set, but clues suggest it is in the years leading up to the First World War. While Edward Swift goes to Manchester to seek a financial arrangement to save the house, his rather eccentric family – his wife Charlotte and newly-acquired stepchildren focus on the 20th birthday of Emerald and the visitors to Sterne who are to help celebrate the day. However, plans are thrown into confusion when there is an accident on the local branch railway line and the bedraggled survivors are sent to Sterne to rest until they can be collected by the rail company. However, it soon becomes apparent to the reader that all is not as it first seems. One of the uninvited guests invites himself into the birthday celebrations and is known to the mother, Charlotte, from her younger days in London. He instigates a thoroughly unpleasant party game in which some home truths are revealed. Henceforth, the night descends into a painful and supernatural farce.
This is very different from the author’s previous two novels, both of which I have read and enjoyed; these were serious affairs about human relationships. Although The Uninvited Guests covers the same themes, the mood is very different – a sort of nastily humorous version of Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger. Sadie Jones has an excellent and acute observant eye for the nuances of human behaviour and her powers of description are impressive, with the setting vividly presented and tale well narrated.
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