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Grace and Mary by [Bragg, Melvyn]
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Grace and Mary Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Length: 257 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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'It's funny and sad and touching. With regular echoes of Thomas Hardy, this quiet, unshowy, book proves that novels can tell truths that are deeper and truer than the mere fact of memoir.' (Alex Preston Observer)

'The pleasures of this elegant novel are many. Bragg's detailed evocation of the Wigton of his youth, the people that lived there, the beauty of the Cumbrian scenery, the lively sense of the region's long and varied history, is delightful. It's a novel that deserves to be read slowly, the details cherished. The Hardy echo sounds throbbingly but Grace is not, like Hardy's Tess, reduced to being a plaything of "the President of the Immortals". It's a novel suffused with the idea and reality of the love between parent and child, beautifully realised without a trace of false sentiment.' (Allan Massie The Scotsman)

A novel which beautifully conveys how the past is a continuum that constantly feeds our consciousness of the present, altering its current and direction. It is starkly truthful about the perils of ageing. But it is also a convincing testimony to familial love, and its power to prompt the imagination in the service of a more generous understanding....It is a gem. (Salley Vickers Independent)

Book Description

By 'quite simply one of the best writers we have' (Sunday Telegraph), a profoundly moving story spanning three generations.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 742 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1444762346
  • Publisher: Sceptre (9 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AJP25TA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #122,296 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

Top customer reviews

By Mr. D. L. Rees TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In the nursing home a life is ebbing away, ninety-two year old Mary so often confused but in lucid intervals with vivid memories of the long past. Her son John, a biographer, realizes she represents living history. With research and photographs he will try to explore that past, revelations leading to greater understanding and respect.

In some ways this is a social documentary, an entire century covered in the tale of three mothers: Ruth who died giving birth to Grace, she whose ironic fall from grace meant Mary could never really be brought up as her daughter. All the while here is a study of changing times and attitudes. Some find it impossible to adapt, as with honest farmer Wilson, unable to forgive the transgression of one he held most dear. One warms to preacher Walker - mild when out and about but fiery in the pulpit, there jabbing at the consciences of those eager to condemn.

Throughout vividly recreated are times of happiness, passion, crushed hopes, sudden end of innocence, determination to face up to formidable challenges.

Much uplifts - as with that portrayal of a close knit community where people rallied round (the village of Wigton completely closing down for a funeral), an era when singing seemed a way of life. (In one glorious sequence old Mary breaks into song. Gradually the entire nursing home's patients and staff join in - depression dispelled, all uplifted.)

John is deeply moved by what he discovers. Many readers will be too, especially those with loved ones who are no longer aware. This represents a growing problem. People are living far longer than ever before, for many the mind seemingly intent on preceding the body's departure from the world. How best to preserve the quality of life? Can much be learned from John's attempts?

Many thoughts are provoked by a novel so tender and true. Welcome here an evocative, involving read.
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By Sussman TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is my first foray into any work written by Melvyn Bragg, and thought it was time to sample his work. Melvyn Bragg, through unfortunate personal experience, had just finished this novel before his own mother died from Alzheimer's disease in a nursing home.

In the narrative our main protagonist's is John a successful man in his 70s who is the only child of Mary. He is very close to his mother and wishes to engage the last remnants of mind that is confused and fading

John contemplates the ambiguities of the deteriorating mind, and hopes that he can stimulate it by calling up old memories, speaking to her of the past; he shows her a book of old photographs of the town they lived in and Mary lights up. However, then she drifts away, and doesn't remember who he is, asks when she will be back in her own home, and when her husband - dead for some 15 years, will come to visit her. Mary also calls out for her mother, Grace, and yearns to be with her.

Grace was Mary's mother, but we learn, she didn't bring her up, and they never lived together. They never had a true mother-daughter relationship. Grace's backstory is the other half of the book, told in episodic way aptly interleaved laced with John's visits to Mary. John tries to understand the state of her dementia, and how it may be lessened, is there a cure - can it be found. Grace's story is re-created by John, but presented as a non-fiction moreover rather an accurate reconstruction, yet the reader accepts it just as one accepts John's accounts of his visits to Mary - the two narratives here are very different and Melvyn Bragg pulls it off with subtle style.

This book, for me, is an exploration world of the aged and dementia, a road that we may travel. We can only hope there is someone as gentle and caring as Mary's son at our side.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read most of Melvyn Bragg books and thoroughly enjoyed them all but I am struggling a bit with this one. I thought it was expensive for a kindle book but then I thought I must have it! Without going into detail (that's not me) I am only about a quarter way through and maybe it'll get better. For me there has been too much abstract thought, but again that's maybe just setting the context---which I admit is an usual one, ie a son meeting with his mother who is suffering from alzheimers and trying to help her end her life with some happy memories. A difficult subject and one I have personal experience of although I never managed to achieve any happiness for him (my dad). I will re-review this book in time-I'm a slow reader-(bedtime only) and hope I begin to enjoy it more.
I've finished the book...and I cried. Such a sensitive story so lovingly written by someone who clearly has been there ...or understands the subject so well. It was heartbreakingly accurate. My Dad and Mother-in-law had similar ends to Mary. I just wish I had been able to read this book beforehand to see if I could have made thing easier for them. How could I have doubted you Melvyn Bragg!?
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Format: Hardcover
Grace and Mary is one of the best books that has sincerely touched my heart. Melvyn Bragg sensitively wrote this story so genuinely convincing that your heart will ache. A tearful moment when Ruth gives birth to Grace and very sadly Ruth dies giving birth to Grace. Which ment that Grace could not bring Mary up as her daughter.
A confusing time is when a a couple of days before christmas John makes his way to see his mothers at his mothers cottage. John can see Mary walking towards him when his 90 year old mother barred past him. This was the very first time that Mary did not recognise her own son. The Sunday church service. Mary love to go to church to pray and to sing every sunday at 9.30am. While mary is singing she suddenly collapases. Everyone in the church rushes towards to Mary feeling for a pulse. Immeditately an ambulance arrives at the church for Mary.
The distressing time.Mary is suffering from dementia where one mintue she leads her life in her cottage and next Mary is taken to a nursing home for the wealthy in Cumbria by the sea. While Mary is in the nursing home she suffers from depression, confusion and refusing to eat.The loyalty love for your very dear mother. John makes a very long trip to travel to see his mother at the luxrlous nursing home, travelling six hundred and fifty miles.
A blissful melody.John takes his mother back to the past when she was a young woman with the idea of music.As Mary loves to sing she remembers every word to the Hokey-cokey-cokey. All around the nursing home hears Mary singing then everyone starts singing along with Mary. The sad moment. Mary asks if Grace can visit her. John gets an idea to bring Grace back by photograps.The plan.
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