Things to Make and Mend Hardcover – 1 Feb 2007
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'An impressively authentic and touching story of female
friendship.' -- Good Housekeeping
'Frequently luminous writing ... [with] acute observations.' -- Observer
'I'm...put in mind of Anne Tyler: in my book, that's praise
indeed.' -- David Robinson, The Scotsman
'Ruth Thomas's first novel shows her talent for stitching together touching and comic moments from ordinary lives.' -- Independent
'a delicate yet sturdy tale of trapped adolescence, nostalgia and
acceptance.' -- Catherine Taylor, Guardian
'a poignant story of silly misunderstandings, missed opportunities
and belated pleasures' -- Daily Telegraph
'beautifully observed ... glints and glows with sly humour and
gentle sadness as she describes the events that destroyed their
friendship.' -- Eithne Farry, Daily Mail
Things to Make and Mend by Ruth Thomas is the long-awaited first novel from one of Scotland's most admired short story writers.
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Top Customer Reviews
Thomas writes beautifully about the intensity of teenage friendship, and about how traditional crafts - the practising of them for Sally and the study of them for Rowena - have sustained both women through difficult times. I liked the way she constructed the narrative, flitting seamlessly from past to present and back, and (in contrast to her second novel, 'The Home Corner'), Thomas creates some memorable secondary characters, including snobbish historian Jeremy, Sally's bohemian former partner John, Rowena's son Joe and the needlework teacher Miss Button (though wasn't that surname a wee bit obvious?) - though Rowena's husband comes across as rather bland. There's a few nice descriptions of Edinburgh and Paris, and I enjoyed very much Sally's evolving career as an artist. The twist to the tale at the end was clever too.Read more ›
Sally and Rowena - friends for life - until a teenage incident tears apart their friendship. Some twenty five or so years later, we see how the incident not only shaped who they became in so many ways but how easy it is to misinterpret a single event.
Told over a period of a couple of days, we are slowly led towards a chance meeting between the two - a reunion of sorts. RT writes with compassion and humility and her characterisation is flawless.
The book darts back and forth in time and between the two main characters - Rowena and Sally - best of friends whilst they were at school. It gradually emerges that Sally had lost contact with Rowena when the latter became pregnant at 15. The thoughts and feelings of both women nearly 30 years later are well portrayed and the background is interesting.
I was reminded of early Anita Brookner in this author's attention to the details of everyday life and the feelings of insecurity which go through any woman's mind all the time. It is ultimately a hopeful book and reminds the reader that friendship is important in the scheme of things.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a gentle read, a bit slow at times and somewhat predictable despite the (unlikely) twist in the tale. Read morePublished on 26 Jun. 2013 by Katie
This has got to be one of my all-time favourite books. I love its sly humour, but it's not just hugely entertaining; it's very touching, too. Read morePublished on 26 Jun. 2013 by Isabelle
This moves between the perspective of Sally and Rowena, best friends in high school, who had a falling out. Read morePublished on 21 Jan. 2010 by SHR