- Watch the author talk about her novel, The Observations in Windows Media Player format:
The Observations Hardcover – 6 Apr 2006
|New from||Used from|
Audio Download, Unabridged
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special offers and product promotions
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Harris's voice is an original one, and her rollicking yet delicate narrative pitch sets the book apart... This is a true one-off. (Joanna Briscoe Guardian)
The Observations, which is set in 1863, has all the necessary ingredients for a Rebecca-like absorption. There are enough twists and turns to keep a cynical adult reader up half the night. (Eleanor Byrne London Review of Books)
Bessy Buckley can hold her head up with Moll Flanders and Becky Sharp as a living, breathing mortal. What takes one away is [her] earthy voice, clear as a bell, ringing out her tale of love, loss and redemption. (Sarah Burton The Times)
Funny and original. What lifts the book out of the ordinary is Bessy's compelling narrative voice. (Peter Parker Sunday Times)
Bessy's robust narrative is by turns intriguing, alarming and very funny. The Observations adds up to entertainment of a high order. (Patricia Craig Independent)
Throughout 400 pages of mystery and intrigue, it is not the flawless plot that leaves the reader rapt but instead, Bessy's comic observations. (Daily Express)
A page-turning narrative. (Daily Mail)
The Observations is an astonishing imaginative feat, brilliantly written in bravura, bawdy style. Harris's richly comic, deeply touching novel is destined to be one of the publishing sensations of the year. (Jackie McGlone Scotland on Sunday)
This intriguing, ghostly read will have you hooked from page one. Fantastic. (Company Magazine)
So there I was with two pens, my two titties, Charles Dickens, two slice of bread and a blank book at the end of my first day in the middle of nowhere. Except as it turned out it wasn't quite the end ...Scotland, 1863. In an attempt to escape her not-so-innocent past in Glasgow, Bessy Buckley - the wide-eyed Irish heroine of "The Observations" - takes a job as a maid in a big house outside Edinburgh working for the beautiful Arabella. Bessy is intrigued by her new employer, but puzzled by her increasingly strange requests and her insistence that Bessy keep a journal of her most intimate thoughts. And it seems that Arabella has a few secrets of her own - including her near-obsessive affection for Nora, a former maid who died in mysterious circumstances. Then, a childish prank has drastic consequences, which throw into jeopardy all that Bessy has come to hold dear. Caught up in a tangle of madness, ghosts, sex and lies, she remains devoted to Arabella. But who is really responsible for what happened to her predecessor Nora? As her past threatens to catch up with her and complicate matters even further, Bessy begins to realise that she has not quite landed on her feet.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Jane Harris populates her fictional Snatter [!] with fantastic characters – Biscuit Meek [few words but spits a great deal], the Curdle sisters and AP Bastard Henderson, the grocer. Uprooted posh from Wimbledon is the English flower Arabella Reid, mistress of Castle Haiver. And there’s a ghost.
Into this world comes the truly amazing Bessy Buckley, as she calls herself. She combines acid wit with shrewd character assessments delivered in a divinely earthy language. Despite her tender – or not so tender – years her background has prepared her for the less pleasant aspects of human nature – she is nobody’s fool. She is also utterly caring and has the proverbial heart of gold.
The goings on at the Castle and in Snatter are narrated in a “Dear Reader” style by Bessy. The reader becomes utterly charmed and captivated by her - as many reviewers have declared here.
The author has done her research as acknowledgements show but while pretty accurate it is not heavy on the history. It’s worth noting that experiences of child prostitution are related in a kind of faux naif, humourous manner, which may jar with some.
Finally, for me, this is one of those books you want your friends to read just so you can recapture highlights with them – “Oh,yes, and the bit where..and the part when..oh and when she ..l”. Definitely better than a box of favourite chocolates - for sharing.
Sharply plotted, humorous but also intensely moving, the book moves towards a truly surprising climax. It is rare to find a book which makes you laugh out loud, yet also makes you feel such sympathy and sadness for the characters. This is a really good read and a brilliant debut.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews