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Winter Journey Paperback – 26 Sep 1996


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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (26 Sep 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140233849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140233841
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,135,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Having travelled. Alfred now lived where he had spent his childhood. Read the first page
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Sep 2003
Format: Paperback
Anyone who has ever questioned whether less is more in terms of writing excellence will find the question answered completely in this impeccable, precise novel. With a care for the exact word which one usually finds only in short stories, Colegate's Winter Journey tells of a brother and sister in the winter of their lives, rejoining each other at the family farm in rural England, and finding that the memories which surface lead each on a personal journey toward new understandings. Every word counts here, and as the lives of Edith and Alfred unfold and their relationships with past lovers, acquaintances, and each other become clear, a picture of their completely different lifestyles and attitudes emerges.
This is not an action novel, in terms of plot. Most of the excitement here is generated by the unfolding of events from the past, the revelations of which Colegate delays through carefully dropped "hints" and prolongs, tantalizingly, throughout the novel. A couple of subplots involving present efforts to change the farm and affect its future, provide a context for these revelations and an impetus for the interior journeys of Edith and Alfred. Those who think that great writing needs long, lush, descriptive passages, complicated syntax, and convoluted dialogue will find Colegate a refreshing change. Her scenes and images are of such startling clarity and simplicity that she creates whole worlds in just two hundred pages here. With her jewel-like precision, she speaks directly to the heart and makes Edith and Alfred live. Mary Whipple
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Susie B TOP 50 REVIEWER on 29 Dec 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Isabel Colgate's beautifully written novel 'Winter Journey' focuses on former MP, Edith, a very competent and independent woman in late middle age, who is twice divorced and now has her own flourishing language school in London; the story also focuses on Edith's brother, Alfred, a bachelor who, having travelled widely, now lives in the family home in the Mendips where he and Edith grew up. Once involved in the fashion industry in the heady days of the 1960s, Alfred is now a photographer of the natural world, developing his photographs in a dark room in the attics of his comfortable farmhouse, which sits nestled beside a wood. One bitterly cold December day, the surrounding landscape white with frost, Edith arrives at the farmhouse with plans to refurbish the outbuildings in the grounds of her brother's home with the intention of using them to extend her language school. Aware that her brother might not be quite so enthusiastic about her scheme for his buildings, Edith decides to be careful in her approach, but in the meantime she meets newcomer, Charles Warburton, a rather brash and overly confident man who has recently bought a neighbouring property. Charles, she discovers, has rather different ideas about rural living and learning that Edith has plans for her brother's outbuildings, he comes up with a surprising proposition for Edith. As Edith mulls over Charles' suggestion, and of the effect his plans could have on her brother, she finds herself revisiting her past life and, as Edith reconsiders her past, Alfred also looks back over the years and gradually, the story of a tragic incident that has haunted him for decades, is revealed to the reader.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Gracefully written novel illuminates England's soul 11 Feb 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Edith Ashby, twice divorced, has led a busy and productive life in London. Her brother Alfred lives in the country, in the house that he and Edith grew up in. When she goes to visit him there, memories of her childhood and youth rise up to meet her; likewise, her presence triggers recollections - some of them deeply painful - for Alfred. The life experiences of these two siblings merge gently yet inevitably with the history of their native land. Colegate's descriptions are evocative and poignant, her observations astute and wise. This is a masterpiece of meticulous novel writing, and the perfect book for readers like myself who cherish the works of Anita Brookner and Penelope Fitzgerald.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Less really is more! 14 July 2001
By Mary Whipple - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Anyone who has ever questioned whether less is more in terms of writing excellence will find the question answered completely in this impeccable, precise novel. With a care for the exact word which one usually finds only in short stories, Colegate's Winter Journey tells of a brother and sister in the winter of their lives, rejoining each other at the family farm in rural England, and finding that the memories which surface lead each on a personal journey toward new understandings.

Every word counts here, and as the lives of Edith and Alfred unfold and their relationships with past lovers, acquaintances, and each other become clear, a picture of their completely different lifestyles and attitudes emerges.

This is not an action novel, in terms of plot. Most of the excitement here is generated by the unfolding of events from the past, the revelations of which Colegate delays through carefully dropped "hints" and prolongs, tantalizingly, throughout the novel. A couple of subplots involving present efforts to change the farm and affect its future, provide a context for these revelations and an impetus for the interior journeys of Edith and Alfred.

Those who think that great writing needs long, lush, descriptive passages, complicated syntax, and convoluted dialogue will find Colegate a refreshing change. Her scenes and images are of such startling clarity and simplicity that she creates whole worlds in just two hundred pages here. With her jewel-like precision, she speaks directly to the heart and makes Edith and Alfred live. Mary Whipple
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
So very British, it seems 17 Jan 2002
By lvkleydorff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Alfred, 60, lives quietly in the English countryside. His sister Edith, 62, comes from London to visit him and to actively take charge of Alfred's life, of his neighbors and his property. The story circles around past husbands, wives and lovers, each shown in sharply etched profile. How do they interact with each other? Fairly well on the surface, being ever so polite and forgiving to each other. The fight goes on underground.
The author does a marvellous job of language and description. The landscape is absolutely still, frozen in winter. The people glide along effortless. But then they step on a landmine and quickly their stories blow up in their faces - just to remind us that there are deep secrets in dark corners.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Introspective and wordy 29 Jun 2001
By Jan McGreger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Edith Ashby, energetic former-politician, visits her world-traveled but now semi-reclusive photographer brother, Alfred, at their rural family home in the dead of winter. Amongst the icy roads, wildlife and old friends and acquaintances, one of whom is Edith's first ex-husband, old memories are stirred up in both Edith and Alfred. For the most part, their reminiscing is done within themselves. There's very little dialog or action in this book. Long stretches of descriptive prose sometimes makes for tedious reading.
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