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The Service Of Clouds Paperback – 2 Sep 1999

4.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (2 Sept. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099274620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099274629
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 380,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

The Service of the Clouds uses the interesting device of a split narrative to tell the separate life stories of a mother and her son. Flora, the mother, has a difficult relationship with her own mother and leaves home early to work as a governess for a six-year-old boy. But, after the accidental death of the boy in her charge, she finds herself haunted her for the rest of her life as she drifts through various jobs. It is only when she accepts the help of a benevolent former employer, though, that she is able to put behind her the burdens of a failed relationship and debilitating illness to pursue her interest in art. Eventually she agrees to marry, though aware that it will be a marriage of affection and safety rather than love and passion.

The story of her son, who is a doctor, is told in between that of his mother, and though at no point do the narratives overlap, the parallels are sometimes striking. His life echoes hers through the strange awareness of death they share, and their similarly perfunctory marriages.

Hill concentrates so excessively on the internal thoughts and feelings of her characters that she up producing little more than an emotional map of their lives, which would, perhaps, work better were it not so heavily layered with mawkish sentiment. Fans may adore this novel, but others may find its laboured prose just a little bit too much. --Claire Allfree

Review

"A beautiful and haunting novel about love, loss and the complexity of the human spirit. With delicacy and understanding, Hill offers a thoughtful portrayal, creating sensitive visions of the courage with which her characters face their existence" (Independent on Sunday)

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on 3 November 2004
Format: Paperback
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 22 October 2011
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
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on 30 January 2012
Format: Paperback
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on 15 July 2015
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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on 24 April 2014
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on 17 November 2014
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on 3 April 2016
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on 19 June 2013
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