Customer Reviews


15 Reviews
5 star:
 (11)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece!
A psychic matriarch, seven daughters and one magical boy hold center stage in Graham Joyce's latest novel, The Facts of Life, a work situated comfortably somewhere between the best mainstream fiction and the subtlest works of fantasy. Be it magical realism or literary horror, the key ingredients here, as with all of Joyce's works, are characters you can reach out and...
Published on 14 Jan 2003

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Different...
After loving Silent Land by Graham Joyce which blew me away, was very keen to read everything else by Joyce. However Facts of Life is a very strange little book which is rather hard to describe. I was expecting a more supernatural thread-alot left unexplained and a dreadful ending. On to the next....
Published on 9 Nov 2011 by Karon.


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece!, 14 Jan 2003
A psychic matriarch, seven daughters and one magical boy hold center stage in Graham Joyce's latest novel, The Facts of Life, a work situated comfortably somewhere between the best mainstream fiction and the subtlest works of fantasy. Be it magical realism or literary horror, the key ingredients here, as with all of Joyce's works, are characters you can reach out and touch. And they touch you right back.

Set in during and post-WWII Coventry, England, the novel opens with "wayward ... fey" Cassie Vine and the bundle in her arms, Frank, whom she fails to give away to a prospective foster mother. Returning home to her mother, Martha and her six sisters, Cassie triggers a discussion that will set the tone and struggle for the rest of the novel. As Cassie herself "is the last girl on Earth fit to raise a child," Martha and her daughters agree that Frank should be raised by the entire clan.

Passed from Martha and Aunt Beatie Vine's own care to Aunt Una and Uncle Tom's farm, to his twin aunts Evelyn and Ina, it becomes clear that Frank is special and possessed of special abilities. Here at the farm, young Frank discovers the Man-Behind-The-Glass, a mysterious figure trapped in the Earth, constantly demanding that Frank bring him things.
Meanwhile, the secret of Frank's conception remains with Cassie, buried deep in the night that German bombers circled over Coventry dropping incendiary and explosive payloads until most of the city was leveled. Cassie, who is regularly possessed of "blue" periods during which she tends to wander far, must often leave Frank in the care of his more stable relatives, transferring him from household-to-household, including an experimental commune and a house with an active mortuary parlor in the back. From each he takes away a lesson about life.
Through it all, Martha watches, patiently directing Franks care from place-to-place, occasionally visited at the front door by precognitive apparitions that help her pave the way.
Though a quiet work, The Facts of Life is no less gripping than Joyce's more conventional work in novels like Requiem and The Tooth Fairy. It's gently graceful characters and precise language makes this alternately horrific and humorous work a treasure whose pages will have slipped through the reader's fingers far too quickly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep Joy!, 27 Dec 2002
This beautiful writer gets better and better...I cant describe how this book works its magic. Its funny and dark in turns but it was easily the best book I've read in the last ten years. There are so many beautiful characters in this but more importantly you get the preciousness of life, the humour of life, the madness of family life. I have read Graham Joyce before and all very good to but this is on a different plane. Every page was a deep joy for me and I started reading it slowly as I got to the end because I didn't want it to end.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cassie is fey ..., 4 July 2005
This review is from: The Facts of Life (Paperback)
I've read a few books now by Joyce, and this has to be my favourite so far. Set during, and just after, the London Blitz of WWI, this book tells the story of Cassie, her family, and her son Frank.
We first meet Cassie as she is about to give up her child to another family. She has already had a daughter who was taken in by a childless couple. But as she watches the minutes tick by, she decides to keep her son. Arriving home to her family she tells them all she is keeping Frank. Her mother, Martha, decides that maybe there is something special about Frank, so she agrees, provided the six other daughters help out with raising Frank.
As a result we see the lies of this family through Frank's eyes as he moves from sister to sister, from farmlife to the almost pristine house of his twin aunts, to a commune. It soon becomes clear that Frank has inherited some of his mother's feyness and some of his grandmother's ability to talk to the dead.
There is some wonderful writing in this book, when Frank tries to imitate his pregnant Aunt peeing for example. Comic touches can be found everywhere, as can potential threats to Frank and the family
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful thing, 20 July 2010
By 
This review is from: The Facts of Life (Paperback)
As another reviewer put it, this truly is a book to savour. One could, for instance, suitably chew on Godiva chocolate as the characters muse, sometimes hilariously, on Coventry's famed Lady Godiva.
I am enjoying re-reading it now, a year after I first encountered its truly alive Vine family. I find myself pausing at the end of lines wondering, "Just how did Graham Joyce do this?" He certainly has ears that hear all, and the dialogue seems like the people of Coventry actually speaking to us.
It is all a terrific accomplishment that will make you an instant fan of his.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To be savoured, 9 Feb 2007
By 
J. Williamson (Blackburn, Lancs United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Facts of Life (Paperback)
Just like a luscious belgian chocolate or a fine glass of wine, this book should be savoured and read slowly. Each chapter is so beautifully written and yet it appears to have been so effortlessly created. This is a story of a family you will remember for a long time. Each character is meticulously drawn with both humour and honesty. This was the first novel by Graham Joyce I had read but I will be searching for another one very soon.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book and one ripe for filming, 24 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Facts of Life (Kindle Edition)
Feeling shocked and quite impotent at the sad news of the horribly premature death of Graham Joyce I sat down to read what I believe to be his finest book for a second time. Whether it is still his best work, they are all so damned good, is of course open to debate but what is for certain is that 'The Facts of Life' is a particularly well crafted piece of writing and story telling. As ever with Joyce's work, the characters are as beautifully drawn as the landscape they inhabit and the plot quickly grabs one's imagination making this a very difficult book to put down. Part ghost story, part fantasy and part social commentary/history, this novel, set largely in wartime and post war Coventry, includes - amongst many other aspects - some of the most vivid and harrowing descriptions of life in wartime Britain that I have ever read. With next year witnessing the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII the filming of this work would surely make a very fitting and lasting tribute to the memory of both the late, great Graham Joyce and the almost forgotten casualties of places like Coventry, Liverpool and - let's not forget - Dresden, from barely a lifetime ago. Perhaps politicians throughout the world would do well to read the author's account of the horrific bombing of Coventry, surely passed down via first hand local and family recollection, before glibly announcing yet another 'wave of air strikes'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The Facts of Life, Graham Joyce, 19 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Facts of Life (Paperback)
Graham Joyce is a much under-rated writer in UK. He is a consummate storyteller whose books demand you stay up all night until you've finished. This intriguing novel is thought provoking, atmospheric and his novels linger in your mind long after you've finished. His sense of time and place, as always, is very powerful, leaving the reader feeling as though he has had an intimate glimpse into the past. He challenges common place perceptions of reality, morality and his characters' world is vividly portrayed.

Graham Joyce is a master storyteller. From the first page the reader is drawn into a world whose characters and story is the only reality worth pursuing. It's a delight to read!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Read in Rapture, 1 July 2012
By 
A. Watson "allan watson" (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Facts of Life (Paperback)
Okay, so I'm a little late coming to the party with this book. Eight years late to be precise, but I'll have my say even though the other guests are probably long gone or lying in a drunken stupor under the table. All I want to say is this - as a hard-nosed reader, now and again I stumble upon something remarkable that resonates like a single plucked note from a magical harp. You know you've struck gold when the distractions of the outside world fade to a muted grumble as you're tugged down and absorbed into the fabric of the narrative. The Facts of Life is one of those books. I've been working my way through the Joyce collection over this last year and enjoyed his work enormously, but this one is special. It leaves its thumbprint on your heart and restores your ever crumbling faith in the human condition. Thank you so much for writing this Mr Joyce. The pleasure has been all mine.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Different..., 9 Nov 2011
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Facts of Life (Kindle Edition)
After loving Silent Land by Graham Joyce which blew me away, was very keen to read everything else by Joyce. However Facts of Life is a very strange little book which is rather hard to describe. I was expecting a more supernatural thread-alot left unexplained and a dreadful ending. On to the next....
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars We who were once splendid. We are still falling from the clouds., 26 April 2011
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Facts of Life (Paperback)
Funny, light, full of witty devilment and encompassing much of English life from WWII onwards, this is a delightful and increasingly compulsive read. There is a salutary gravitas in the story of the night Coventry was fire-bombed but for the main part it's a saga with seven sisters, and an implacable mother who is `fey' and subject to visions, heralded by a spectral knock on her door.

Graham Joyce is particularly good at characterisation, having no trouble in depicting with flair and individuality the family members and peripheral others that have a part to play in this gentle and often amusing story. This was a tremendously pleasurable read and something strikingly out of the ordinary run of the mill family saga.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Facts of Life
The Facts of Life by Graham Joyce
£3.59
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews