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Winner of the Orange Award for New Writers 2009
Artist, lover, wife, mother: can one woman be them all?
Born in 1924, Jennet Mallow grew up with a disillusioned mother and a father haunted by memories of war. But Jennet has a talent - and a passion - for art. When she meets the handsome painter David Heaton they begin a tempestuous affair which takes them from the dank terraces of London to a bohemian artistic community in St Ives. But as Jennet's career flourishes, her relationship with David suffers - with potentially tragic consequences . . .
'The most beautiful, accomplished debut I have read for a long time . . . It is a powerful novel by a supremely talented artist' OBSERVER
'Enchanting . . . exquisitely written' DAILY EXPRESS
'A masterful portrait of a woman forging an unexpectedly dazzling career against the backdrop of familial duty' EASY LIVING
A searingly powerful novel about passion and isolation, about the nature of belief, about love and motherhood, for fans of Ali Smith and Maggie O'Farrell
In a church in Battersea, Mary-Margaret O'Reilly sees blood on her hands and believes she has witnessed a miracle. The consequences are both profound and devastating - not just for her but for others, too: Father Diamond, the parish priest, struggling with his own faith. Stella, adrift in her marriage and aching for her ten-year old son, away at boarding school. Alice, counting the days until her soldier son comes home. And Mary-Margaret's mother, imprisoned in a tower block with nothing but her thoughts for company... What happens to Mary-Margaret will send ripples through this tight community, raising questions about the nature of devotion - in all its forms - and the cost of loving in a confusing world.
'Unfailingly gripping, filled with the essential ingredients - tension and emotion.' Patricia Duncker, LITERARY REVIEW
'Beautifully musical sentences with carefully judged rhythms.' Philip Womack, DAILY TELEGRAPH
'Skillfully constructed and beautifully written.' Peter Parker, SUNDAY TIMES
What happens to a man who has his ear pressed to the lives of others but not much life of his own? When Stephen Donaldson joins the Institute, he anticipates excitement, romance and new status. Instead he gets the tape-recorded conversations of ancient communists and ineffectual revolutionaries, until the day he is assigned a new case: the ultra-secret PHOENIX. Is PHOENIX really working for a foreign power? Stephen hardly cares; it is the voice of the target's wife that mesmerises him.
This is December 1981. Bombs are exploding, a cold war is being waged, another war is just over the horizon and the nation is transfixed by weekly instalments of Brideshead Revisited. Dangerously in love, and lonely, Stephen sets himself up for a vertiginous fall that will forever change his life.
As beautiful as it is intense, The Long Room is the dazzling new novel from an award-winning writer. With her mastery of the perfect detail, Francesca Kay explores a mind under pressure and the compelling power of imagination.