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Profile for Frances Gapper > Reviews

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Frances Gapper

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The Story of Fester Cat
The Story of Fester Cat
by Paul Magrs
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fester fan, 12 Dec. 2015
I loved Fester Cat when he was alive and on Facebook, and I loved this funny and sad book too.


Royal Worcester Wrendale: The Artful Poacher Mug
Royal Worcester Wrendale: The Artful Poacher Mug
Offered by The Kitchen Cabinet
Price: £10.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 10 Mar. 2015
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Great, thank you!


A Song for Issy Bradley
A Song for Issy Bradley
by Carys Bray
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Really believable characters, 27 Sept. 2014
A novel about a Mormon family that is almost torn apart by grief, but then miraculously - yet also in quite an ordinary, believable way - survives. I liked how the point of view changes, so we get a turn with each of the characters - Issy the girl who dies, Claire the mother who at first holds it together, then is felled by an incapacitating depression, Ian the father who clings dogmatically to his faith, Zippy the eldest daughter, Alma the rebellious, football-mad older boy, Jacob the young one who keeps on believing in miracles. I especially loved how Jacob has quite a different angle on certain church members and people in authority who the rest of his family can't stand! But all the characters engaged my interest and felt very believable. Ian's torment in particular - he's trying to do his best as both father and Mormon bishop, but under highly testing conditions the two roles turn out to be incompatible. In the end he has to put his family first - by taking one small step of resistance to unreasonable church demands, which he movingly does. The novel felt a little bit rushed towards the end, but the ending itself is delicately balanced, tentative, even quite ambivalent.


Someone Else's Skin (D.I. Marnie Rome 1): Winner of the Crime Novel of the Year
Someone Else's Skin (D.I. Marnie Rome 1): Winner of the Crime Novel of the Year
by Sarah Hilary
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful, atmospheric, haunting, 28 Mar. 2014
Sarah Hilary is new crime writer well worth following - with huge ability to create atmosphere and intrigue, language flows off her fingertips. Her villain in this first book of the Marnie Rome series is especially memorable, a complex and haunting creation. I can see this novel transferring well to TV or film.


Morphologies: Short Story Writers on Short Story Writers
Morphologies: Short Story Writers on Short Story Writers
by Ali Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing insights into short stories, 8 Mar. 2014
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This book is fabulous and wonderful. In the two weeks since it arrived, I haven't let it stray far from me. Although I've read all the essays at least once, I have the feeling I haven't even started paying them real attention. In particular I love Toby Litt's essay on Kafka and his own Kafka-like apercus/aphorisms on the subject of Literature v. Literary Fiction. Also Ali Smith's close textual scrutiny of the first three stories of James Joyce's Dubliners and Alison Macleod on Katherine Mansfield. I like Sara Maitland's ideas too - she believes Hawthorne was writing magic realism "about 100 years too soon".


Shire
Shire
by Ali Smith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and extraordinary, 10 July 2013
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This review is from: Shire (Hardcover)
A beautiful smallish hardback book of four stories, accompanied by tiny pictures. Within the stories, all sorts of things can be found - such as poems, the biography of a poet (Olive Fraser), memories of a writer and academic (Helena Mennie Shire), a mental asylum, thoughts about what it means for a woman writer/academic to offer support and help to other women, and Virginia Woolf's visit to Girton, how she took a cup of tea and stared out of the window, ignoring all the young women who'd gathered to welcome her. And much more. The writer's father doing something unmentionable (which is yet mentioned) in hospital. The shire as administrative district, Shire as married name and perhaps there's a pun on `shyer' here too? The evil star Algol, the outrage of a TV executive who's been asked to read and consider the Scottish classic Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon.

Sometimes the pain and sadness of living breaks through, other times it's hinted at. But with lightness of touch always - lightness in darkness. "As it is, I am careful when kissing, or when taking anyone in my arms. I warn them about the thorns. I treat myself with care. I guard against pests and frost-damage. I am careful with my roots. I know they need depth and darkness, and any shit that comes my way I know exactly what to do with. I'm composed when it comes to compost." Many beautiful things are here as well, including the Ninth of May pamphlets, sought after by bibliophiles, which prove 'precarious', fading in sunlight.

The pictures by Sarah Wood - drawings, photographs, images from a roll of film - are potent, magical and strange. Both natural and unnatural - eg a butterfly on a butterfly bush, part of a doll's face. They made me think, perhaps the smaller something is, the more power it holds?


Wish I Was Here
Wish I Was Here
by Jackie Kay
Edition: Hardcover

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Redeeming stories, 30 Jun. 2006
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This review is from: Wish I Was Here (Hardcover)
These stories are miracles, they are like visiting angels. Jackie Kay writes about the saddest, most awful times in relationship/friendship break-ups and their desolate aftermaths, so wonderfully that each sentence is hard to let go of. Funny, outrageous, intimate, a joy to read.


How Do You Pronounce Nulliparous? (Five Leaves Short Stories)
How Do You Pronounce Nulliparous? (Five Leaves Short Stories)
by Zoe Fairbairns
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever and witty, a wonderful new collection, 2 Mar. 2004
In one of these stories, Zoe Fairbairns writes brilliantly from a child's point of view; another narrator is a 50-year-old single man living with his long-suffering mother. These are witty, clever stories, but also they get hold of you and draw you in. Into the subtitlers' room - and the mind of the careful, observant transcriber of soap operas - the railway carriage, the pensions seminar. A delightful collection - though too short! -from one of our finest comic writers.


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