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Absent in the Spring Hardcover – 1 May 1973

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 May 1973
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; New edition edition (May 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000221038X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002210386
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 13.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,990,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'I've not been so emotionally moved by a story since the memorable Brief Encounter… Absent in the Spring is a tour de force which should be recognized as a classic.' New York Times

'Very readable indeed.' Times Literary Supplement

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Agatha Christie is known throughout the world as the Queen of Crime for her 80 ingenious crime books and her plays. Writing anonymously as Mary Westmacott, she also wrote about crimes of the heart, a series of six bittersweet novels with a jagged edge, as compelling and memorable as the best of her work.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book for the first time many years ago and found that it disturbed me on some level - in a positive way I hasten to add! In my many moves since then the book was lost and I recently felt the need to read it again so bought another copy. It is difficult to explain how a premise for a story that seems very dull could affect me so profoundly, but it did and I would recommend this book to anyone. It is one of those few tales that I know I will read again and again.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Though it is a mystery without a murder. The central character is marooned in a guesthouse waiting for a train somewhere in the Middle East (something Christie experienced more than once). She runs out of reading material. There is nowhere to go but the desert. She is thrown back on herself and forced to reflect on her life. Bit by bit she begins to suspect that her life as a contented wife and mother in a peaceful country town where nothing ever happens is not as rosy as she thinks. And what's the real truth behind her daughter's marriage? Will she return home a different woman, changed by the insights sent her by the bareness of the desert? Read the book to find out.
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By A Customer on 6 July 1999
Format: Paperback
If you think Agatha's mystery novels are superb, wait till you read this one. This is the engaging tale of a middle-aged woman who is forced to sit with herself only, and think about herself and what her life is all about. It will make you think of your life at the same time, and what it means and how you treat the people you care about the most. I have enjoyed it tremendously and know you will also if you read it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been a lifelong reader of Agathe Christie's detective stories; recently I decided to try her "straight" novels. Their main interest lies in the psychology of the protagonists; and it is fascinating to read a detailed psychological profile of certain types that have often been encountered in Christie's detective fiction. They are romances, but in a rather unusual way, as each book (of the four I have read so far) deals with a case of love, not always romantic, but either slightly perverted or inadequate.

The central character of this story is a person (usually female) who has appeared several times in the author's detective stories, almost always in the role of the victim: the complete egoist. She is not consciously selfish or intentionally cruel, but so completely self centered, that all her thoughts, actions and feelings refuse to allow any other point of view than her own. She lives in a world where she is the center of the universe and other people are as two-dimensional and no more real than fictional characters. Usually, she goes though life oblivious of other people's nature and feelings, causing harm to them, because she loves herself too much and them not enough to make the effort of seeing them as they really are. In this book, she suffers an epiphany and comes face to face with her true self as well as the reality of her life; the resolution is somewhat surprising, but when it happens it feels inevitable.

The only reservation I have, in this as in other books by Westmacott, is the religious element. There is a "St.Paul on the way to Damascus"-type revelation that might jar readers' religious feelings, but it can be easily overcome, as it is neither an attempt to convert or offensive in any way.
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Format: Paperback
Agatha Christie is sometimes credited with achieving insights into the psychology of murder, in her Miss Marple novels, at least, but the reputation of her detective fiction rests more securely on its clever plotting and an eccentric private or amateur detective. She was neither a great Realist, in the nineteenth-century novel’s tradition of extended character development, nor a Modernist, with an interest in stream of consciousness or fragmented narratives. However, writing as Mary Westmacott in “Absent in the Spring” (1944), Agatha Christie contrives to write a novel, set in the mid- to late-1930s, that stages a sometimes unnerving psychological drama within the mind of the central character, Joan Scudamore. The contrivance is exaggerated and this testifies primarily to the self-delusion of Joan Scudamore but, possibly, to Christie/Westmacott’s reluctance to plumb the mental depths of her characters.

Joan Scudamore is a middle-class wife and mother of three grown-up children, secure in both of these roles. Her material circumstances in a provincial town are respectable, affluent and secure as any housewife’s at that time. Joan is, though, on her way home from a visit to Iraq where her daughter lives with her husband but has been unwell. She reaches the Turkish border by car but the train to Istanbul, with connections on to England, is delayed and she is obliged to remain in a railway rest-house for some days. With no unread books and other pursuits to hand, she is obliged to reflect on her relationships, her education and her own personality. She comes to recognise the lies she has been living and, while she wouldn’t have used the term, she confronts her multiple repressions; in effect, she meets herself and hates what she sees.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Did not enjoy as much as her mystery /murder books ,but not a bad story.
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