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Jar Baby Paperback – 20 Sep 2012
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Top customer reviews
Comparisons have been made with The Lovely Bones and We Need to Talk About Kevin; I think it's like Ian McEwan got drunk with Peter Greenaway and ended up sharing a taxi, shamelessly, with Virginia Andrews. And I loved it.
The previous reviewer's comparison to 'We Need To Talk About Kevin' struck a chord, and there's something of the fairy tale about it too (but not at all Disney, more Angela Carter's 'The Bloody Chamber'). For me it was a gripping detective novel too... not in any kind of typical crime fiction manner, but in the way that the expertly woven plot reveals itself to both reader and (damaged) central character simultaneously throughout.
Webster's prose is engaging and poetic, at once literary in style and entirely accessible, with an earthy sensuality and refreshing (often grotesque) wit that takes just enough of the edge off the darkness. I'll be looking out for her next novel, this one left me craving more...
The book tells the story of Diana, who is forced to come to terms with her traumatic childhood after the death of her famous uncle. She's a difficult character who is written in a way that makes the reader always on her side, in fact every character, likeable or not, is vivid and fascinating.
The book has everything; a great story, mystery, secrets, truth and humour and I kept wanting to underline certain sentences that I wanted to remember, or wanted to read out to someone else, because they made me nod my head and re-read them over and over because they described something so perfectly it was hard to imagine that particular thing being described any differently.
I couldn't put it down. It's one of those books that I had to keep reading even though I was tired/eating/having to take children somewhere. I haven't been like that with a book for a long time.
The real joy for me though was the quality of writing which is quirky, delightful, surprising, and entertaining throughout. Even in the darkest passages (and it goes to some dark places from the outset) every sentence zings with inventive wit. In the blurb on the back Cathi Unsworth calls Hayley Webster a 'true artist of words,' and she is right.
A fantastic debut novel which leaves a lasting impression.
Most recent customer reviews
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