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Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not a Classic, 7 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: The Greatcoat (Hammer) (Paperback)
East Yorkshire in the early 1950's. A newly married girl lonely and disorientated by her new surroundings finds an old RAF greatcoat and one day hears a tapping at the window... From this basic premise Helen Dunmore has woven a compelling novella which like many ghost stories these days is as much about the living as the dead. The key themes here are how the past and present can collide when a common hunger is exposed-here the living seeking escape from a dull life meeting the dead whose life was taken by war. In both atmosphere and plot there are striking similarities between this book and Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger, but it has to be said that in terms of both the writing and the development of suspense Dunmore cannot match the quality of Waters. One of the problems is that the complex meshing of the scenes from past and present becomes confused and unconvincing and although the story remains engrossing, the set piece scenes are atmospheric but not truly frightening. Ultimately the writer is more concerned with Isobel's realization of the need to embrace the present and not the past than in any passionate rendering of the supernatural. Consequently, the climax of the book is tense but unsatisfying in terms of what has gone before. That said, this remains a good read with a fine feel for the deprivations of a fifties Britain still defined by rationing, gossip and memories of conflict.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Eugene Onegin
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Location: Lincoln England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,328