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Instances of the Number 3 Hardcover – 6 Aug 2001

3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; 1st edition (6 Aug. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841156582
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841156583
  • Package Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.6 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 803,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Salley Vickers' novel Instances of the Number Three is set in London and Shropshire. It describes the relationship between a dead man, his wife and his mistresses and is illuminated by philosophical ponderings on Hamlet and his ghost, and the poetry of Dante, Gerald Manley Hopkins and John Donne. Peter Hansome is the dead husband who walks through the pages of the novel, appearing to his wife Bridget in "his old tweed jacket and cords. He was, in fact, exactly, but without the disfiguring cuts and bruises of the accident, as she had seen him last--in his coffin. "To come to terms with his life and death, literature-loving Bridget makes friends with his mistress, Francis, an ex-artists' model: "She ... had a capacity for stillness and the kind of body which reflects planes of light." But as the omniscient narrator says:

This is not an account of feminine jealousy, or even revenge, instead its a story of negotiation and discovery as the characters orbit each other like little planets.
Vickers' prose style is witty, literary and decorous, her musing on the instances of the number three take in purgatory, heaven and hell; the eternal lovers triangle and the trinity (memorably described as the "different flavours of a Neapolitan ice"). The book is a controlled meditation on personal identity, passion and art, where emotions are analysed and reconciled. Sally Vickers' trick is to keep you interested in the hearts and lives of the characters as her novel of ideas gently unfurls.

This is a fine successor to Vickers' hugely successful debut novel, Miss Garnett's Angel, a subtle story of an older woman's emotional epiphany set in contemporary Venice. --Eithne Farry

Review

‘Salley Vickers is a remarkable optimist. She shows that happiness can be found even after it seems to have died.’ David Sexton, Evening Standard

‘Gentleness of perception and sharpness of intellect … sustains you long after the last page.’ Bel Mooney, The Times

‘Admirable. Salley Vickers has a way with persuasive characters and crisp narrative.’ Penelope Lively, Independent

‘Vickers writes sympathetically about the bereaved women as they remake their lives.’ Margaret Walter, Sunday Times

‘Studded with observations and asides that stop you in your tracks.’ Julie Wheelwright, Scotland on Sunday

‘The reader glides through it effortlessly. The plot is simple, yet has an amazing amount of narrative power. Vickers’ second novel confirms that she will have a long and outstanding career.’ Martyn Goff, The Times

‘Lovely. Distinctive grace.’ Murrough O’Brien, Daily Telegraph

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on 5 April 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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on 28 September 2001
Format: Hardcover
0Comment| 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 15 March 2008
Format: Paperback
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on 21 May 2003
Format: Paperback
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on 5 July 2012
Format: Paperback
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