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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty and poignant
Mick Jackson's narrator is defiant if understandably shaky in the face of the sudden death of her husband. Her flight to Norfork is cloaked in confusion, and a certain amount of alcohol will be consumed to numb the immediate pain, but information leaks out bit by bit as to why she might have made the curious journey. The reader pities her bereavement, but admires her...
Published on 25 Mar 2010 by Ms. Felicia Davis-burden

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Third novel from Mick Jackson
I very much enjoyed Mick Jackson's second novel, the strange and charming "Five boys" and therefore rushed to buy his first book "The underground man" but didn't enjoy this half as much, although the book did have its moments and was a similar mix of eccentricity and sentiment.

In this latest book he assumes the first person voice to tell the much more...
Published on 11 Jun 2010 by G. E. Harrison


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty and poignant, 25 Mar 2010
By 
Ms. Felicia Davis-burden (Staines, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Widow's Tale (Paperback)
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Mick Jackson's narrator is defiant if understandably shaky in the face of the sudden death of her husband. Her flight to Norfork is cloaked in confusion, and a certain amount of alcohol will be consumed to numb the immediate pain, but information leaks out bit by bit as to why she might have made the curious journey. The reader pities her bereavement, but admires her spiky wit. One suspects that the real reasons for her escape to the country are deeply sad, but how much is our anti-heroine prepared to reveal?

I love the woman's voice; stoic, satirical with very little self-pity. This is a highly original and often funny novel, in which one life's mundanities are described in a refreshingly colourfull style. The reader can return to this story and believe in the woman's situation, all the peculiar and destabilising tricks grief plays on anyone, and nod in agreement. You can read and understand, without falling into depression; an achievement for any writer! A terrific story.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars one degree of separation, 20 May 2010
By 
mfl (london) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Widow's Tale (Paperback)
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There's a charmingly mad woman at the heart of Mick Jackson's latest foray into the perils of the human mind. And much like his first novel, the Underground Man, we see a return to form and a method in madness after the inconsistent and muddled attempt at populist nostalgia in Five Boys.

What makes Jackson so special and The Widow's Tale such a rewarding and entertaining read, is his light touch to the weighty topic of grief. It's truly enough to make you laugh out loud at some brilliant comic observations resting on a thin film over deep depths of despair. Even if Jackson can't quite walk on water as a classic novelist just yet, his treatment of this topic is a fair comparison all the same. It's quite a trick as we trip along with our widow on her random adventures around the Norfolk coast and wistful past life memories.

Jackson intends to drag you in, and along, for the ride. It's a minute examination of a lady without a name and the frequent clever references to places Jackson assumes we know, " ...and ate at that Italian place in the corner of the open market". Enough to make one do a double take: do I know that place? And indeed do I know this lady? Save for the geography, of course we do, it's about all of us in one way or another.

Here's a book that for once is just a pure pleasure. It's straightforward and desperately honest, funny and heart warming. Such is Jackson's manipulation of our empathy, just maybe come the novel's end you might also want to jump in the car and go join our heroine rather than have to leave her life in the cottage. A masterstroke in the art of loss made real.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Widow's Tale, 20 May 2010
By 
Mr. B. W. Haynes "b & e haynes" (North Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Widow's Tale (Paperback)
What sounds at first glance a rather depressing subject turns out to be anything but in this funny novel by Mick Jackson.
The lows that John's widow experiences, are cleverly ofset by the hilarious adventures she has when holed up in an holiday cottage in East Anglia.
The description of her feelings of pain, anger and desolation at her husbands death are uncomfortable reading but more than ofset by the humour which is verging on the almost farcical at times of her day to day survival.
A very cleverly written novel, well worth reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mick Jackson - A bitter-sweet tale of loss and the perils of white wine., 26 Jun 2010
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Widow's Tale (Paperback)
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The dust jacket of this book points you to the previous works of Mick Jackson and the "astonishing" booker prize nominated "The Underground Man". In honesty I have had no previous acquaintance with the works of Mr Jackson but after reading "The Widows Tale" I have purchased his previous book because on this form it will be corker. "The Widows Tale" is a simple story about the terrible complexity of loss, grief, anger, distress, recollection and reconciliation. It concerns a feisty 63 year old widow who has decamped to East Anglia and the chills of a wintry Norfolk coast partly in a haze of regret and partly with a purpose. Jackson tells her story with considerable warmth and captures her anger with the right level of ferociousness. Along the way he produces a range of acute observations in a short book that can be read in one sitting. As stated there is nothing about grief that is not complex and Jackson wades into his subject matter with real skill, dexterity and depth. His characters comments are wryly observed. Thus he highlights the predicament of all families who at the moment of their sharpest loss have to "keep an eye on the catering" at the funeral, about the comfort that her dead husband remaining in her house separated by an "Half an inch of timber" gives her, and how the "cut off points" she has mentally set herself to "get over" her grieving never arrive as precisely or as neatly as she wants particularly in the dark days of a cold January.

Jackson throughout (female readers will no doubt correct me if this is not the case) manages to make his character wholly believable and his writing inhabits her so well that he makes for a very convincing "woman" not least since the "Widow" absolutely dominates the text and the narrative is conducted as an internal monologue. His/her reflections lead to the fact that her marriage was far from perfect but despite this she now finds herself in the words of Roger Waters leading a life of "quiet desperation" which includes irritation at office staff who hide the screen of their computers "as if they have personal access to the mainframe of the bloody Pentagon" and musing on the wonders of lists and the precision of "a plain sheet of A4, to create a two ply rectangle, approximately eight inches by six". The widow struggles through the Jackson's narrative drinking far too much wine and touching the edge of a breakdown, yet emerges with dignity. She could be an Alan Bennett creation and is grumpy and precise in her tastes not least in the lovely passage where she observes how she would like to "rent a dog" for walks along the beach but without the need to address its internal workings!

The Widows tale is sad, reflective. poignant and often very funny. It is a book that will touch anyone that has experienced bereavement and the mechanisms used to cope with it successfully and often hysterically badly. The narrative of the book unfolds at a pace that meanders gently but with purpose and while its themes may not have any big "magic realist" messages to convey or grandiose pretensions about its impact, the book stands in its own right as one of the best portraits of a lonely, self indulgent right of passage. It is in essence a sad but wry story written with real skill, conveying as it does both a act of coming to terms with a cataclysmic life event and a "pilgrimage" of exploration into the possibilities of what exists beyond this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Third novel from Mick Jackson, 11 Jun 2010
By 
G. E. Harrison (Cheltenham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Widow's Tale (Paperback)
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I very much enjoyed Mick Jackson's second novel, the strange and charming "Five boys" and therefore rushed to buy his first book "The underground man" but didn't enjoy this half as much, although the book did have its moments and was a similar mix of eccentricity and sentiment.

In this latest book he assumes the first person voice to tell the much more conventional story of a woman coming to terms with the sudden death of her husband. And for me (a man) this inner voice of the widow seemed totally believable and I never once questioned that the book was in fact written by a man. The book is much more personal than his former novels and concerned more with emotions and personality than narrative and in fact not a great deal actually happens. The story concerns the widow fleeing to the North Norfolk coast while she tries to cope with bereavement but this is a Norfolk that is only used a back drop, with a few villages namedropped rather than described. I know this area well but got no real sense of the place. To be fair this is a much more a novel of the mind, as the widow thinks back about her late husband, their marriage and her own infidelity. I thought that the book was very well written and also showed Jackson's versatility but I don't think it is a book that will remain in my mind for long.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Portrait of loss and bereavement, 21 April 2010
By 
BusyReader "mrs28" (Midlands UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Widow's Tale (Paperback)
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This is a short novel ; a monologue which contains acute observations and excellent narration. The narrator is a Widow on the run - not for any crime - but to escape from the house being full of well meaning neighbours and friends - some of whom offered her sex ! She has taken a few bits and pieces and driven herself off to a hamlet by the marshes in Norfolk where she spent some time in her youth.

The location of the novel : isolated wintry Norfolk is an excellent backdrop which suits the Widow.
Her emotions are raw, she is in mourning , not just for her husband of forty years but the end of her life as she has known it. She is a little bit wild at the time and wonders if she is going mad, but on the whole she is quite witty and humerous (I guess if I was in mourning I may not have done ! )

I found it an enjoyable read which took me about 3 nights to devour and would recommend it for its easy reading uncomplicated style!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, 1 April 2010
By 
Keris Nine - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Widow's Tale (Paperback)
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Not as morose as the title and cover might suggest, The Widow's Tale is actually a sprightly and often humorous account of dealing with loss, attempting to deal with the absurdity of the situation it leaves one in and the strange affect it has on how other people relate to the whole bereavement process. That's not to say that the novel is neglectful of the wave of deep feelings, the emotions, the sense of loss and complete dismantling of one's life that occurs, but at the same time it's understood that there's a necessity to deal with them and it's precisely the good old fashioned just-get-on-with-it manner with the widow in question here that drives and sets the tone of The Widow's Tale - even if in her case that means running away from it all after the unexpected death of her husband and sitting it out in a small rented cottage in a remote Norfolk village.

Noting her impressions down in the form of a journal, the observations here are wonderful - lightly and sometimes blackly humorous, the writing clear, precise and entertaining. Initially there doesn't appear to be much here in terms of novelistic depth, rigour or structuring, the first-person brief journal-entry point of view sections with their anecdotal impressions coming across a little like the observations of a regular columnist in a Sunday newspaper magazine Lifestyle supplement. The observations are keen however, seeing society and human relations from the fresh perspective of one whose world has been turned upside down, taking in other little quirky observations about human nature and getting old along the way, the whole absurdity of it all suddenly revealed.

As far as that goes, this is wonderfully enjoyable and entertaining writing, even if it is mostly somewhat episodic and anecdotal. Eventually however, through recollection of some other events in her life that have been revived by the loss of her husband, through her little quirks and obsessions, a more sympathetic and human side of our narrator arises out of her little journal notes and the seriousness of her condition becomes clear. The writing and the situations are related with an undeniable note of truth that it gets right to the heart of the character, of what bereavement means and how it is viewed in our society, allowing the reader to understand and sympathise with her - and undoubtedly many like her - in her predicament.

It's a slim account, deceptively light and readable and certainly possible to read it in one sitting, although to do so seems wasteful when you can have the delight of looking forward to reading some more. Once started however, the wonderfully engaging tone of The Widow's Tale doesn't make the option of putting the book down before the end an easy one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grabs you from the start and hangs on tight., 30 Mar 2010
By 
Mrs. Katharine Kirby "Kate" (HELSTON, Cornwall United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Widow's Tale (Paperback)
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This is an easy, quick, absorbing read which is admirably deep in content. A brave choice of subject for a man that really does work. I did find myself wondering about this in an un -politically correct way; a guy writing a book about a widow, probably mostly aimed towards a female reading audience. The voice of the author could be considered androgynous - however for me his masculinity does seep through. He makes the widow speak with an extra feisty strength together with hugely enjoyable ironic wit. Her gut wrenching `journey' through the early stages of unexpected widowhood is described with touching empathy and sharp observation. The setting in Norfolk was beautifully drawn which made the book even more appealing.

A clever bit of writing indeed and one that made me want to read more of Mick Jackson's work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I have read this book 5 times now and it gets better every time, 17 Aug 2014
By 
chris "chrisellis93" (Croydon, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Widow's Tale (Paperback)
Hi, I'm a 63 year old male who has read 50 to 100 books every year since my twenties, mostly novels. That's a lot of books. I have read this book 5 times now and it gets better every time. So of course I cannot recommend it to you because it was obviously written just for me. On every page I find at least one incident that reminds me of times in my life. I am not a woman, my wife of nearly 40 years is not dead and I don't drive a car so have never been to the places in Norfolk detailed in the story and I have never had an affair. And yet I have stared at Christina of Denmark, I have been accosted for no reason by a young woman and felt frightened, I have left a book on the shelf only to come back and find it gone. I could go on but you get my point.
So, I love this book. In fact I think it's the best book I've ever read. I wish I wish I wish that you could read it and enjoy it as much I have.
Thanks for reading
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars like a man writing about a woman, 5 Mar 2011
By 
Jean A. Wright "Hope" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Widow's Tale (Paperback)
Tried too hard and I suspect forgot that bereaved women seldom use words such as 'donkey dick'.Wish I hadnt bought it.
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The Widow's Tale
The Widow's Tale by Mick Jackson (Paperback - 1 April 2010)
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