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The Year of the Ladybird Paperback – 13 Mar 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (13 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575115327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575115323
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 267,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Not only is this novel a fabulous evocation of the sweltering, endless summer of 1976 and the fag-end of the British holiday camp era, it is also a rights of passage novel and a wonderfully moving exploration of guilt, forgiveness and redemption. (THE LADY)

Graham Joyce's The Year of the Ladybird showed that he is one of the best writers of ghost stories we have. (Adam Roberts The Guardian) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

A ghost story with a difference from the WORLD FANTASY and multiple BRITISH FANTASY AWARD-winning author of SOME KIND OF FAIRY TALE

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read all of Graham Joyce's novels I find it hard to credit that his books are never, ever 'samey'. Instead each one is imbued with a different emotional aftertaste and with 'The Year of the Ladybird' he excels once again in capturing those balmy days of that long hot summer.
Anyone who remembers the summer of 1976, recalls that seemingly endless time when each day started and ended with cloudless skies, rocketing temperatures, drought warnings and hosepipe bans. It was a magical year and Graham Joyce captures the essence of it in this work, together with sinister overtones of forgotten memories, a recession and the National Front.
As usual his descriptive prose is sublime and his characterisation unparalleled. The protagonist is a student working in a holiday camp in Skegness, despite his mother and stepfather's grave misgivings. As always in a Graham Joyce book, nothing is quite as it seems however, who is the man in the blue suit carrying a length of rope and who is the small boy with him? The front cover proclaims 'The Year of the Ladybird' - A Ghost Story, it is all that and much, much more.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Barwise is a 19 year old student who, against the better wishes of his Mum and step-dad, gets a summer job as a greencoat on a holiday camp in Skegness. Set against the scorching summer of 1976 - and the subsequent ladybird invasion - David is led into two love affairs, one with the wife of an apparent monster, one with a lovely Yorkshire lass, as he tries to find his feet amongst the staff of the camp - some theatrical, some racist, some thuggish and some genuinely nice - and the ever present punters, adults and child alike. He is not only there to escape from home, he’s also trying to find details about his long-since-dead father, the only photograph of whom shows him on a Skegness beach. And then, in between getting caught up in the rise of the National Front, he begins to see ghosts on the beach and on the camp, of a suited man and his young charge. This is a glorious novel, full of wit and invention (and a nice line in dry humour) that is told is a deceptively simple style. Perfectly capturing both the 1976 summer and the start of the slow decline of the east coast seaside resort, this crackles with energy and pathos. The characterisation - David narrates the story - is pitch perfect, often delivered with the lightest of touches - Pinky and the way he dresses, Tony and his exuberance, Colin and his chilling demeanour - but always spot on and always human, with none of the characters ever behaving in a way that seems out of place. David is first drawn into the web of Colin, a thuggish and boorish man, and his wife Terri, who sings like an angel but is apparently abused into submission at home. Attracted to her, the relationship between him and his older, secret lover, is fantastically played with neither David or the reader quite sure of what’s going on.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Graham Joyce has yet again taken a seemingly ordinary story and sprinkled it with his special brand of magic. Set in the hot summer of 1976, it tells the story of a young student working the summer in a Skegness holiday camp. Joyce beautifully evokes not only the feel of that long hot summer but also the tribulations and dilemmas of the youthful protagonist. In typical Joyce style, things aren't all they seem, encounters with damsels in distress and The National Front are only the tip of the iceberg. If you are already a fan of the authornthen you certainly won't be disappointed, if you are new to his work then welcome to the wonderful world of Graham Joyce.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the final novel in the summer of '76 trilogy I chose to read, and my favourite of the three. I almost gave it five stars. I thought it captured the mood of the seventies, which is now so long ago. The book brought back memories of feeding coins into slots to ring home, and those pesky ladybirds that flew into your mouth looking for moisture. Of course there have been many hot summers since '76, and the day of the holiday camp faded away with the dawning of cheap flights to the Costas. The world wide web aside, much of what made people happy then still does to this day. I would highly recommend this novel.
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Format: Audio Download Verified Purchase
A wonderful portrait of the long hot summer of '76 for sure but a 'Ghost Story'? Perhaps not, or at least only in the way that we are all haunted by our 'ghosts' from the past and in so much as the past has a remarkable way of catching up with each of us. Either way, this is an exceptional and remarkable book well up to the standard set, some time ago now, by the repeatedly outstanding Graham Joyce. The plot crackles with tension on so many levels just as the scorched English landscape crackled back then - approaching forty years ago now. Whether it be the mysterious semi-supernatural aspect, the 'coming of age' element or the all too disturbing account of the manipulative tendencies of the odious National Front, Joyce writes with a hand that is as accurate and knowledgeable as it is evocative. Whether, as he concludes, 'the future will be what we choose it to be, just so long as we carefully engineer the present', remains to be seen. As for the past moving 'like sand under your feet', that surely is true.
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