- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (6 Aug. 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0747553211
- ISBN-13: 978-0747553212
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Bluethroat Morning (Bloomsbury Paperbacks) Paperback – 6 Aug 2001
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Alison Bliss, world-famous model and author of critically acclaimed Sweet Susan, walks into the sea on a 'bluethroat morning'. In death she becomes a greater icon than in life, and the Norfolk village of Glaven where she lived, is soon a place of pilgrimage. Six years later her husband Harry, a schoolteacher, is still haunted by her suicide and faithful to her memory. But then he meets nineteen-year-old Helen and they fall in love. Harry and Helen's relationship initiates a return to the past, and it is at the scene of his Alison's death that they meet ninety-eight-year-old Em Higham. Through this old man a tale is revcaled that has been generations in the making and at whose centre may lie the reason for the tragedy. As Harry pieces together the past and confronts his own pain, he discovers that to truly move beyond history, first he must relive it...
About the Author
Jacqui Lofthouse has an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia and is the author of The Temple of Hymen. She lives in London.
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A literary thriller, yes, with important themes about women artists and suicide, as well as the mysteries of love and passion.
This one will linger in my mind.
The writing is singularly beautiful – the descriptions of the Norfolk setting, underpinning and enhancing the emotional content of the book, simply stunning, and unlike anything I’ve read before. The story itself is gloriously convoluted, with a mystery at its core and a search for the reasons behind Alison’s suicide – the story’s development, the narrative drive, is slow and measured, but quite all-consuming. The writing has an emotional quality, at times an real sensuality and erotic edge, sitting quite comfortably alongside the factual and mundane.
It moves between present day, the early days of Harry and Alison’s relationship and the lead up to her death, and looks back at the secrets of the past – but not in a linear way, circling instead, revealing new insights and resonances as it does so. The characterisation is superb. The voice of Harry as narrator is a clear one, his character not always likeable, but his desperate need to achieve understanding, however personally difficult that might prove to be, is absolutely compelling. The insights into Alison’s despair, through memories and through her writing, are searingly real and heartbreakingly sad. And then there’s Helen – I found her simply fascinating, by turns naive and knowing – along with other key players in the narrative, from the newspaper man who constantly hounds them to the American professor, through the players in the historical story that shapes much of the present. And then there’s Ern Higham…
I’m saying a lot about my reaction to this book, but not much about the story – I don’t think I need to, but I really should be clearer about its appeal. There’s a central mystery, a mildly explosive ending, and a digging into facts that might appeal to a crime reader. There’s a gothic and atmospheric feel, a degree of smoke and mirrors, that takes it – just about – into psychological thriller territory. There’s much here about relationships – love, obsession, grief and loss. There’s a central and recurring focus on the parent-child relationship, along with appearance and reality, and the whole theme of creativity with its cleverly introduced literary allusions. This may not an easy read, but it’s an immensely rewarding one – and I’ll confess that I absolutely loved it.
The characters are also very well portrayed, although I was only fond of Alison Bliss and Ern Higham. It was very interesting to learn more about Alison and the reasons for her suicide. We get an insight into her thinking, she was clearly suffering from some form of depression and took the only way out she believed she had. An exceptional read that will stay with me for a long time.
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Intelligent and well written.
Alison Bliss, celebrity model and critically acclaimed writer, walks into the sea one ‘bluethroat morning’.Read more