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Y [Kindle Edition]

Marjorie Celona
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Product Description


This is not a novel of showy writing, but contains a great deal to admire ... Almost everyone in this novel is telling stories, lying, finding narratives of why they did what they did, and why there are who they are. Y is a beautiful, moving book that explores what it takes to belong from a new author with a voice that is bold, surefooted and confident. -- Evie Wyld Guardian 20130216 Celona treats her foundling heroine with brutal exhilaration, dipping between shuddering sadness and other-worldly ecstasy ... It is said that biology is destiny, but in this frequently moving novel Celona sensibly opts for the conclusion that the strongest family unit is not necessarily one that is genetically connected. -- Catherine Taylor Sunday Telegraph 20130217 Compassionate and keenly observed ... Celona's well-judged conclusion does indeed fill the heart to bursting. -- Stephanie Cross Daily Mail 20130131 "Why" is a word that plagues Shannon, the narrator of this assured debut novel ... a sharp and compassionate exploration of the split nature of decisions. The Sunday Times 20130127 The driving force of this debut novel is Shannon's question: why was I abandoned? In her quest to find her real mother, the theme that arises is how our origins influence our identity. While Shannon is a heart-breaking character,Yis a warming story sprinkled with humour, forming the perfect canvas to interrogate these big questions. Psychologies Magazine 20130121

Book Description

Marjorie Celona's debut is a heartbreaking and compassionate story of sacrifice and love, which introduces readers to unforgettable characters and a brilliant new literary voice.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 456 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0571294952
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Fiction (1 Jan 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009YJH6TQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #97,714 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Marjorie Celona received her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow and recipient of the John C. Schupes Fellowship. In recent years, she has been the Olive B. O'Connor Fellow at Colgate University and writer-in-residence at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland. Her stories have appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Harvard Review, Glimmer Train, Crazyhorse, and elsewhere. Born and raised on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, she now lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book 9 Jan 2013
Y is the story of Shannon, a girl in search of her own identity. The book is written from the point of view of the protagonist herself and while we follow her story we also learn about the story of her own mother.
The title is not a coincidence. We learn about the "whys": why we need to know who we are and why, in certain circumstances, a mother would arrive at the decision to abandon her own child.
The book is beautifully written, the characters and the whole story feel very real and there is no judgement or condemnation when talking about sensitive issues.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not for everybody. 25 Oct 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Even though I nearly shed a tear at the end of the book, “Y” left me relieved when it’s ended. Not because of the bad language and appalling storytelling – quite opposite! The books is of real quality, well-thought, engaging and very well-written. It’s just there is too much misery and melancholy, one bad choice followed by the next. And in the end, no redemption.

The other thing that I longed to feel more of – is the connection to the characters. There are a lot of dramatic personae in the book, and yet it felt that I did not really know any of them good enough to emphasize. We know their story, but not their inner world. Descriptions of Western Canada felt more profound and thoughtful, occasionally, then the characters themselves.

Three and a half stars. It's a somewhat difficult story, and I would not recommend it just to anybody.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars because 6 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the story of a girl who is eventually named Shannon, though she is thinking of changing her name. She was born to an 18-year-old mother who managed to lose her nearly three-year-old son the day before giving birth. Not an auspicious start to life for this tiny baby who is then abandoned outside a YMCA.
This beautifully written story tells us about Shannon's childhood and adolescence through her own eyes. Alongside this we learn about her natural parents, what happened and why.
After two unsuitable, and in one case abusive, foster placements and a spell in a children's home Shannon is eventually adopted into a loving but materially poor home. She is always restless and unsettled, though, and naturally curious about her origins.
I enjoyed this book very much, finding the events realistic and believable, particularly the conclusion. The descriptions, including mundane cityscapes and the Vancouver Island rainforest provided the narrative with satisfying context. I will definitely read subsequent books by Marjorie Celona.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story! 6 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this book it is a sad story well told with empathy and compassion. I wiil read it again and again...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and interesting idea, but a little slow 11 July 2013
By Malfi
Y kept me mildly interested until the end of the book. It was a nice construct, with the stories of the two women growing towards each other, enough to keep the reader's interest alive. The characters felt very real and there was a sense of redemption throughout which was touching. This being said, the book was slow and in my opinion it could have been shorter without losing anything.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving story well told 25 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Insightful book on the trials and tribulations of a young girl growing up in care. Sad bits, funny bits but very moving
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What actually happened? 17 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I didn't feel as though there was much of a story here. So much more could have been going on. It dragged for me, but I persevered and finished the book. It didn't float my boat.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Feelings 28 Jan 2013
Shannon's life begins at the Y. Abandoned when only hours old she spends her early years in one unsuitable foster home after another, the victim of abuse and unloved. Finally, she finds a home with Miranda and her daughter, and although she is offered stability and a place in a family, Shannon can never settle.

Shannon has so many questions, and they all start with Y. Why was she abandoned on the steps of the YMCA? Why did her Mother do that? And another question; Who are her family?

At the age of sixteen, Shannon decides it is time to find some answers. With the answers, she discovers the truly sad and desperate story of her parents.

Y is very unusually written and follows two narratives, the first being Shannon's own story from her conception through to young Adulthood. The other narrative follows the few days before Shannon's birth, concentrating on her mother Yula (another Y) and the terrible events that lead up to the birth. The first-person narrative of Shannon is often complex and a little difficult to follow, it's quite hard to believe that these are the thoughts of a new-born baby, a toddler, a child and then a young adult.

Don't expect a heart-warming or uplifting story. Y is bleak, very bleak. Shannon is the stereotypical mis-fit child who finds it difficult to interact with anyone of her own age. The brief glimpses of sunshine come only when she meets Vaughn much later in her life. Shannon experiences the very darkest underbelly of society, she feels no self-worth and allows herself to stay a victim for most of her life.

There is no doubt that Majorie Celona is a very talented writer and has created some very strong characters and a very unusual and quite different plot.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping book
I found the book very exciting could not put it down. The ending was very surprising and I did not expect it.
Published 11 months ago by Patricia Tatlock
4.0 out of 5 stars Y by Marjorie Celona
It will tug at your heart at times as you go on the journey with the young girl, looking for the answer.... Y.
Published 14 months ago by Jenny
5.0 out of 5 stars My book of the year 2013!
I found this on the Oprah Winfrey book club list and was enthralled from page 1!
I love the narration which covers the lives of the 2 main characters up to a point and then... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mrs. D. Jones
Could not put this one down!
Talk about cry your eyes out!
These characters will stay with you - who doesn't need a Vaughn in their lives? Read more
Published 17 months ago by Ainsley B.
4.0 out of 5 stars A struggle to find peace
A child left at the Y. Her life from then passed from pillar to post until she is finally placed in the care of Miranda and her daughter Lisa Rose. Read more
Published 17 months ago by elais
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and moving
'Y' tells the story of a baby girl eventually named Shannon and her life from when she was abandoned in front of a YMCA shelter by her mother to age seventeen. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Justhavingfun
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but sometimes uncomfortable reading
Shannon is not the easier character to like but you can't help getting drawn into her world. Well written book about a young girl trying to understand your place in the world.
Published 18 months ago by SKM99
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay
Didn't live up to the positive recommendations that I had read prior to purchasing the novel. Interesting premise, just not brilliantly executed.
Published 19 months ago by H. A. Davey
3.0 out of 5 stars We should be encouraged
I know as a father that sometimes I get frustrated at my son for asking why all of the time, we should though encourage it and this debut by Marjorie Celona has at its core this... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Pete Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong, intelligent writing
This novel is carefully crafted in the way only these American "Writers' Workshop" graduates can do it, which always guarantees a quality read. Read more
Published 20 months ago by bluefish
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