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A Long Way from Verona
     

A Long Way from Verona

by Jane Gardam
 

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Jane Gardam's marvelous stories of young girls on the threshold of womanhood—God on the Rocks and Crusoe's Daughter—have delighted fans and critics alike. These "modern classics" (The Independent) are now joined by a new novel that is equally fresh and genuine, comic and touching.

Jessica Vye introduces herself with an enigmatic

Overview

Jane Gardam's marvelous stories of young girls on the threshold of womanhood—God on the Rocks and Crusoe's Daughter—have delighted fans and critics alike. These "modern classics" (The Independent) are now joined by a new novel that is equally fresh and genuine, comic and touching.

Jessica Vye introduces herself with an enigmatic pronouncement: "I ought to tell you at the beginning that I am not quite normal, having had a violent experience at the age of nine." A revered author has told Jessica that she is, beyond all doubt, a born writer. This proves an accurate prediction of the future, one that indelibly colors her life at school and her preception of the world.

Jessica has always known that her destiny would be shaped by her refusal to conform, her compulsion to tell the absolute truth, and her dedication to observing the strange wartime world that surrounds her. What she doesn't know, however, is that the experiences and ideas that set her apart will also lead her to a new and wholly unexpected life. Told with grace and inimitable wit, A Long Way to Verona is a wise and vivid portrait of adolescent discovery and impending adulthood.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for A Long Way from Verona

"A Long Way from Verona is a brilliant, witty, and agonizingly true-to-life novel."
—The Times Literary Supplement

"A fiercly funny and personal book."
—The Economist

"Jane Gardam is a wonderful writer. Her understanding of character and use of language are both remarkable."
—The Times

Praise for Jane Gardam

"Jane Gardam has a spectacular gift for detail of the local and period kind, and for details which make characters so subtly unpredicatble that they ring true."
—The Times Literary Supplement

"Gardam is the best kind of literary escape: serious, mesmerizing, and deeply satisfying. Who, in these times, doesn't need this kind of palliative"
LA Review of Books

Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-17
This venerable British author is best known in the U.S. for her Old Filth trilogy, completed this year. Now, here's an opportunity to read her first novel, from 1971, about a girl on the cusp of puberty in wartime England. Jessica Vye has a secret. When she was 9, a famous writer spoke at her school about becoming a writer. He was such an inspiration, she pursued him to the train station and thrust all her writings at him; months later, she heard back: She was a bona fide writer. Jess tells us this breathlessly. By now, she is all of 12, still impetuous. Her father has changed careers, from schoolmaster to clergyman; the family has moved to the blustery North East, and England is at war with Germany. Gas masks are mandatory; so is food rationing. Idiotic school rules get her in trouble, but Jess goes on her merry way until she encounters a madman (and potential molester) in the municipal gardens. She suppresses the memory until it surfaces later in a poem she writes; it will win a nationwide competition. In the novel's middle, and strongest, section, Jess has a sleepover with a posh family in their huge house. In class-conscious England, the Vyes inhabit a gray area between posh and common. Jess, not previously interested in the opposite sex, swoons over a marvelously mature boy (Christian is 14, looks much older) who talks of revolution and insists on meeting her father, who, it turns out, is a famous lefty. Then, another narrow escape for Jess: Christian takes her to visit some slums, and a stray German bomb kills two kids down the street. The delayed shock causes Jess to write her poem, a move that shows Gardam's insight into both child and budding writer. A final section is less successful as Gardam searches for a truthful ending. The qualities for which Gardam is cherished (the quirkiness, the bright-eyed wonder at reality) are already apparent in this early work.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781609451417
Publisher:
Europa
Publication date:
11/05/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
514,757
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Jane Gardam is the only author to have twice been awarded Britain’s prestigious Costa (formerly Whitbread) Award for Best Novel. She is widely known for her revered trilogy: Old Filth, The Man in the Wooden Hat, and Last Friends. She lives in the south of England by the sea.

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