Augusta Cotton

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"What was lost would be lost again every time we invented it, until the pearls of our lives were hidden under so many layers of story, that only through great effort and great love would we ever be able to bring them back." Told through the voice of Augusta Cotton as she recollects her childhood, this imaginative novel captures the magical and turbulent times of two eleven-year-old girls searching for meaning in the quiet confusion that surrounds them. It is the end of 1963. Augusta's new friend, Helen Walsh, has mysterious and prolonged absences ...
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Overview

"What was lost would be lost again every time we invented it, until the pearls of our lives were hidden under so many layers of story, that only through great effort and great love would we ever be able to bring them back." Told through the voice of Augusta Cotton as she recollects her childhood, this imaginative novel captures the magical and turbulent times of two eleven-year-old girls searching for meaning in the quiet confusion that surrounds them. It is the end of 1963. Augusta's new friend, Helen Walsh, has mysterious and prolonged absences from school, and soon she is diagnosed with lupus. Augusta's father, the respected town doctor, has many answers, but he cannot make Helen well. Jordan, Helen's mother, is still shocked by the circumstances surrounding her husband's untimely death, circumstances in which Helen is somehow involved. The young girls spend more and more time together reading and telling the stories of their families. They grow closer as Augusta cares for her new best friend. In between shared laughter and the silence of Helen's pain, they find themselves entering a complex adult world. Eventually Augusta learns what happened to her friend's family, which includes a brain-damaged older brother, and her mother's friend Joan, a taxi driver. With intelligence and sensitivity, Margaret Erhart introduces us to resilient characters in a story that is full of the perplexities, mysteries, and visions of childhood. She brings us a story of the living and the dead, of wellness and illness, and of a world haunted by memory.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her engaging second novel, Erhart ( Unusual Company ) traces the coming-of-age of two 11-year-old girls who live on opposite sides of the river that bisects their hometown. On her side, Augusta inhabits a conventional home with her parents, the town doctor and his wife. On the poorer side, Helen lives with her mother; her father is dead, her brother in a sanatorium. Narrator Augusta, hovering at the brink of adolescence, becomes infatuated with classmate Helen as well as with Helen's mother. As the novel opens, Helen falls ill with lupus, and the disease's drama and mystery as it attacks and retreats, its distressing effects on Helen and Augusta, form the story's nucleus. The novel follows the two girls, so closely bonded they practically dream each other's dreams, through a year, focusing on their time in class, their long walks home from school, Augusta's visits to Helen's sickbed and the eventual unraveling of Helen's family secrets. Erhart movingly portrays her protagonists contending with more of life than they can grasp, capturing Augusta and Helen at that most disturbing time, the difficult transit out of childhood. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780944072219
  • Publisher: Steerforth Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1992
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 304

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