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The Cast Iron Shore Paperback – 18 Jun 1998

3.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Paperback, 18 Jun 1998
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books; New edition edition (18 Jun. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862072191
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862072190
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,536,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

* Virago are reissuing this wonderful first novel by Man Booker-shortlisted author Linda Grant --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

Remarkable prize-winning tale of fashion and communism
Sybil Ross has been brought up by her Jewish furrier father and style-obsessed mother as an empty-headed fashion plate. Only on the worst night of Liverpool's Blitz does she uncover a secret that leaves her disoriented, belonging nowhere. When the war is over, Sybil embarks on a voyage that takes her from Liverpool to New York City, through fashion, jazz, Communism, McCarthyism and love, and ultimately to the furthest coast of the continent and a final choice. The Cast Iron Shore is a beautiful evocation of one woman's journey from the 1930s to the 1990s, combining the personal and political in an outstanding first novel. Winner of the David Higham Award, shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize. "In Sibyl Ross, Grant has given us a female protagonist to match the end of the twentieth century" Lisa Jardine; "A remarkable chronicle of the second half of the twentieth century...Grant offers us big ideas and a clever plot, along with some truly fine writing" Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A year on from first reading this novel, I'm amazed at how I still find myself unsettled by its impact. Linda Grant's heroine is the ultimate exile. Her odyssey twists the cliches of modern American fiction: She makes the journey out West -- but never gets to California. As a British born, Jewish Communist she views the American dream through the wrong side of a mirror. Having read a great deal of African American fiction I found Grant's portrayal of the relationship with the callow Black intellectual boyfriend fascinating. This novel isn't afraid to tackle the cruelty that lurks in human beings, even when supposedly dedicated to a great cause. And it's not afraid to be bleak about people who realise they may have dedicated their life to a pointless cause. The more "great" American literature you've read, the more I think you'll be surprised at how fresh and original this novel is. by the way.. that cover photo of the glamour girl by the 50s convertible is either totally ironic or very misleading. But I can't recommend this highly enough.
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By A Customer on 2 May 1999
Format: Paperback
Linda Grant's ambitious and panoramic novel could perhaps be described as a paradox: the 'great American novel' written by an English journalist, about a third of which takes place in Liverpool. But this is to be perhaps too flippant about a book which I found convincing and compulsive. It provoked for me favourable comparisons with another work tackling similar themes of exile, political commitment and sacrifice - Philip Roth's American Pastoral. Grant of course is lacking the years of experience of Roth, and my only criticism would be that some of the plotting is a little loose and one or two of the recurring metaphors a little leaden, but these are minor complaints in a novel so sympathetically relayed. Grant also, of course, manages something which Roth could never be accredited with: a coherent and sympathetic feminine perspective.
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Format: Paperback
I feel strange to write this about the Cast Iron Shore having just finished When I Lived in Modern Times. Yet the pleasure I received from that triggered off recollections of the other.
I do think a comparison with Philip Roth is valid. There is a similar sense of an exploration of the political and historical, through the development of a personal narrative which acts as a trigger for personal development.
I cant recommend this, (which first intrigued me because the heroine's father, like my own, was a furrier) and When I Lived in Modern Times, highly enough.
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Format: Paperback
It tells the story of the awakening to real life of a protected, spoilt, half-Jewish Liverpool girl, starting in the late 1930s and working through to the present time. Her experiences (social, sexual and racial) in Liverpool during the war, and subsequently in the rag trade - and later the Communist Party - in the USA, give her a unique perspective on life's depths and superficialities. Linda Grant has written a sensitive, streetwise and magnetically readable piece of literature.
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Format: Paperback
I didn't enjoy this as much as her more recent work, but it is a good yarn and covers and huge historical stage. Grant's attention to detail and her ability to include historic events around the rather self indulgent main character is gripping if you like this sort of thing. She is best on developing story lines and explaining how people work, or don't work. I got a bit lost in the middle when she was wandering round the Mid West and annoyed with one of her partners who seemed to psychologically abuse her....somewhow her 'conversion to communism' doesn't sound very convincing.

However a good read, though rather long. Glad I have done it but she gets better as a writer as she writes more...
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