The Translation of the Bones

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Mary-Margaret O'Reilly is seemingly a harmless enough young woman, ready and willing to help out Father Diamond in the Sacred Heart church in Battersea. She may not be very bright, and she is sadly overweight, but she can certainly clean. She is also very good with children, and helps out an Asian woman on her estate whose little boy Shamso is adorable.

It is the statue of Jesus on the cross Mary-Margaret is especially drawn to, and one day she decides to give Him a thorough and...

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The Translation of the Bones: A Novel

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Overview

Mary-Margaret O'Reilly is seemingly a harmless enough young woman, ready and willing to help out Father Diamond in the Sacred Heart church in Battersea. She may not be very bright, and she is sadly overweight, but she can certainly clean. She is also very good with children, and helps out an Asian woman on her estate whose little boy Shamso is adorable.

It is the statue of Jesus on the cross Mary-Margaret is especially drawn to, and one day she decides to give Him a thorough and loving cleansing. But then something strange happens, and moments later she lies unconscious, a great gash in her head, blood on the floor. Word gets out that this strange happening is the opening of the statue's eyes and the flowing of blood from its head. Soon a full-scale religious mania descends on the quiet church, and everyone, from Father Diamond to his small but loyal band of parishioners, is affected by it. When she has recovered, Mary-Margaret returns to the church, and to her duties caring for her housebound and even fatter mother Fidelma. Among the parishioners, Stella Morrison meanwhile impatiently awaits the return of her son Felix from boarding school, and Alice Armitage the return of her much older son from Afghanistan.

Mary-Margaret goes back obsessively to the statue of Jesus. He has told her things, things she must act on, and urgently. But He has become remote and uncommunicative once again, and she is in despair. The act she decides on is a shocking one, and it will bring together the lives of the O'Reillys and the Morrisons in a way that will change their lives forever.

Francesca Kay's second novel, after the prize-winning AN EQUAL STILLNESS, is at once a profound meditation on the nature of faith and motherhood and a riveting story of passion gone tragically wrong.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her American debut, 2009 Orange Award–winner Kay (An Equal Stillness) displays canny insight into her characters’ quiet yearnings. Mary-Margaret O’Reilly, a dim-witted sheltered woman living with her obese, dependent mother, Fidelma, so desperately longs to make some genuine connection that she has visions of a miracle in her suburban London church. Fidelma hungers for her first love and a time when she was beautiful and unburdened by the fear that traps her in her body and her home. Stella Morrison, stuck in an empty marriage, covets time with her 10-year-old son, Felix, who is miserable at boarding school. Father Diamond longs for peace of mind and a strong reaffirmation of his religious calling. Meanwhile, Alice Armitage, an opinionated but big-hearted church member who helps with cleaning and visits church members who have become housebound, is eager for her son, Fraser, to return home from Afghanistan. By imbuing these troubled souls with transcendent innocence and memorable backstories, Kay brings depth to characters that could easily become stereotypes, all while spinning an extraordinary plot. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
“Kay lays out a moving consideration of devotion and loss.” —New York Times Book Review

“What begins as the small mystery of one woman’s vision (ordelusion) explodes into a deeper story about how people cope with grief andloss.” —The Washington Post

“Fiercely lyrical yet exceedingly tough-minded…stark andunforgettable.” —Chicago Tribune

"You do not need to share the beliefs of Kay’s characters to be deeply affected by their stories….skillfully constructed and beautifully written book, which is as much concerned with common humanity as it is with individual faith.” —The Sunday Times

“If Francesca Kay’s second novel were a piece of music, it would be a requiem, finding the poetry, perhaps even the glory, in loss and despair. Which is not to say that her novel is depressing or gloomy–far from it. In its depiction of a community grappling with the pain of what it means to be human, it is a novel which manages to be both poignant and uplifting….You don’t have to be religious to be moved by Kay’s elegantly calibrated writing.” –The Telegraph

An Equal Stillness won Kay the 2009 Orange Award for New Writers. The faith-and-family subject matter of her second book could make The Translation of the Bones feel rather old-fashioned. Yet, though Kay’s novel is emotional, it’s not sentimental and it never lingers on the spot. This combination of feeling and structural restraint seems rather new, or just unfamiliar.” —The Financial Times (U.K.)

The Translation of the Bones is a well-tempered exploration of the haphazard, the religious and the mad…in beautifully musical sentences.” —The Daily Telegraph

Library Journal
In the days leading up to Easter, a small group of faithful congregants and their priest are tested by a series of miraculous and terrible events. At the center is Mary-Margaret O'Reilly, a socially awkward woman who lives with her housebound mother and zealously attends to the church's preparations for the festive celebration. In her misguided fervor, Mary-Margaret believes she has seen blood dripping from the statue of Christ, causing her to fall off a ladder and sustain a head injury. Upon her release from the hospital, she waits for a sign revealing her special mission. This has tragic consequences for her and the other women helping at the church, among them Stella Morrison, who does the church's floral arrangements and is looking forward to her youngest son's return from boarding school, and Mrs. Armitage, the priest's housekeeper, who is anxiously expecting her son home from his tour in Afghanistan. VERDICT Written with sympathetic grace and a Barbara Pym-like sensibility, this assured novel is warmly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 8/26/11.]—Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ont.
Kirkus Reviews
Lonely souls, notably mothers and children in a diverse community, are scrutinized by a noted young British writer. After her U.K. debut, An Equal Stillness (2009), which won the Orange Award for New Writers, Kay's first U.S. publication is another rich character study, this time connecting a span of individuals via two events at the Church of the Sacred Heart in south London. Devout but mentally unbalanced Mary-Margaret O'Reilly, a volunteer at the church, is cleaning a crucifix in a side chapel when she sees Jesus' eyes open and blood seep from his wounds. Her fall from the altar lands her in the hospital, where an immigrant nurse hears her story and spreads the word. Other volunteers include Stella Morrison, the quietly dissatisfied wife of an ambitious politician; and Mrs. Armitage, whose son is fighting in Afghanistan. Then there's Stella's youngest son, Mary-Margaret's mother and the church's stand-in priest, all of them included in Kay's gentle but searchingly empathetic consideration. This fills many pages of her short, Barbara Pym–flavored tragedy and generates a sense of limbo between the two turning points, but the quality of the prose, the emotional resonance and restrained mystery will satisfy readers unperturbed by limited plot development. Poignancy, lyricism and elegant spiritual debate characterize this impressive if slender novel.
Carole Burns
In a time when suicide bombers are willing to kill for God, and scientists dismiss religion as a grand delusion, what does it mean to have faith? Francesca Kay, in a thoughtful, unbiased way, pushes at this question in her second novel, The Translation of the Bones. But what begins as the small mystery of one woman's vision (or delusion) explodes into a deeper story about how people cope with grief and loss.
—The Washington Post
Andrea Thompson
Kay uses Mary-Margaret's story to explore the ambiguity of faith—why we believe what we believe. With great delicacy, she creates a sinuous group portrait of the people who have been brought together by Mary-Margaret's discovery.
—The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451636819
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 1/3/2012
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.36 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Francesca Kay’s first novel, An Equal Stillness, won the Orange Award for New Writers in 2009. She lives in Oxford with her family.

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Read an Excerpt

It’s beyond belief what you find between the pews, Mrs. Armitage was saying. Coins and gloves you might expect, but socks and underwear? Hair clips, buttons, handkerchiefs, and now look at these, these peculiar white pills. She held out her hand to Father Diamond, who looked at it carefully and shook his head. Mrs. Armitage brushed the pills into the plastic rubbish sack beside her and went on: d’you know, the other day there was an old chap in here who was looking for his teeth? I said to him, I said I think you need a dentist not a church. But no, he swore he’d left them here and we had to have a good look round . . .

Excuse me, Father Diamond said. Behind him the sacristy door opened and Stella Morrison came out, her arms full of dying flowers. She stepped into a band of sunshine that streamed through the high windows of the south wall and for a moment she was wrapped in gold. Father Diamond turned and looked at her, the sunlight woven through her hair and spilling on the sheaf of fading roses and gloriosa lilies that she carried. She genuflected briefly in the direction of the altar and said: look, the last flowers we were allowed and now they’re dead. She went on down the aisle to the main door. Excuse me, he said again to Mrs. Armitage, I can hear the minutes of the council meeting calling, I’d better love you and leave you, I’m afraid. Oh but, she said, but Father, I did want to have a word with you about the candle grease on that new surplice, and she put her hand firmly on the sleeve of his soutane.

Mary-Margaret O’Reilly watched Father Diamond’s disappearing back less wistfully than usual as he followed Mrs. Armitage into the sacristy. She had been waiting for this moment, for this quiet, empty church. Now was the perfect chance. Mrs. Armitage had finished with her sweeping and her polishing; the great mop she used, stiff and black with floor wax, was back in the cupboard in the porch. If Mary-Margaret could get the job done now, and quickly, she’d have things shipshape before Father D put up the purple shrouds. She’d hate to think he’d see the dirt that she had noticed when she was gouging candle wax out of the pricket stands.

The problem was she could not find the ladder. She had thought there was one in the cupboard. But a chair would have to do instead. She took one from the back of the church and carried it through to the Chapel of the Holy Souls. There, with a silent prayer of apology for offense unwittingly caused, she stepped out of her shoes, climbed on the chair and from it onto the altar. She would change the white cloth later. Now she was face-to-face with Him, their eyes were level.

It had been difficult to choose the right materials for the task. Flash was far too harsh and so was Mr. Muscle. Fairy liquid, maybe? No, she felt this called for something special and, having rejected Boots as ordinary, she decided on the Body Shop at the top of the King’s Road. The mingled scents she found there befuddled her a little, and she wasn’t sure what to say to the powdery lady who bore down on her with an offer of help and a sample of glow enhancer. But she stood her ground and found the shelves of brightly colored bottles arrayed under the heading BODY CARE.

There was such a range to choose from. Papaya, clementine and starflower; fig, mango, passion fruit and melon. He had cursed a fig tree, hadn’t He? Passion fruit perhaps? That might be suitable. The wounds, the crown of thorns. But when she sniffed it she felt the scent was far too womanly; He would want something cleaner and more masculine. Essence of pine? Would that make Him think of home, of wood, the shavings from His father’s workbench, fat blond curls of clean-cut timber, or the wood of His own cross? Hang on though, was that not made of olive? Of course. Now she saw it was entirely obvious. Body wash with extract of virgin olive. Olives must have been his bread and meat.

The containers came in two sizes; she chose the smaller. It was still expensive. She also bought a pot of olive body cream.

The air was still and heavy in the church; sunlight, which had glistened briefly, gone. Mary-Margaret had already soaked the sponge she’d been carrying all week in Holy Water. It was a real sponge, the organic kind, not the nasty blue or pink thing you would use to clean the bath. It too had been expensive but she knew that it was necessary and, like the olive oil, would make Him feel at home. That is, if the sponge came from the Red Sea as she thought all sponges did. Or was it from the Dead? Well, in any case. The sponge absorbed all the water in the stoup, leaving nothing for the visiting faithful, but that could not be helped. Father Diamond would refill it later, she was sure. Now, standing on the altar, she took the wet sponge from the sandwich bag in which she had temporarily stowed it, and transferred it to the little plastic bowl she had also been carrying in her shopping bag. She unscrewed the cap of the body wash and poured half of it onto the sponge. It was not easy to do this while balancing on the altar, trying to hold the bowl at the same time. She could have done with an extra hand.

She began with His poor, wounded head, so cruelly pierced with thorns. With infinite tenderness she stroked the frothing sponge across His matted hair, around the rim of the torturers’ crown. His eyelids drooping with tiredness and pain, His nose, His cheekbones taut beneath the skin, His beautiful, suffering mouth. The length of each arm straining from the crossbeam; His hands most horribly pinioned to the wood. She had packed a J-cloth, already moistened, this time with mineral water, and a dry one too for the rinse and final polish. As she wiped away the grime that had settled on His palms, going carefully around the rusty nails, she imagined that she soaked away His pain and sorrow as a mother would. His mother, or her own. She saw a child perching on the white rim of a bathtub, small grazed hands held out to gentle adult ones, trusting them to wash away the hurt with cooling water, make it better with a kiss. This picture was not a memory of her own. She pressed her lips briefly to His hands.

She could hardly bring herself to touch the deep gash in His side. His ribs protruded so painfully through His flesh, it was as if He had starved to death upon the cross. Years ago the nuns had told her how a person died from crucifixion. In effect He suffocated, exhausted from heaving Himself up against the agony of the nails for every breath. No one should be able to contemplate His passion and stay dry-eyed, the nuns had said, and Mary-Margaret could not; not then, nor ever. Now, dabbing at the dirt that overlaid His emaciated chest, her eyes were overflowing.

At the cloth that covered His loins she paused. The sculpted folds fell gracefully; after she had washed them they glowed white again, as they must have done when new. She wiped the froth away and dried them. To clean His legs and feet she knelt down on the altar. Those crossed feet pierced through by a single cruel nail. She remembered Mary of Magdala drying them with her hair; long it must have been, and flowing; long enough for her to wrap it round His feet as she bent over them, for she would not have dared to raise them to her head. Mary-Margaret’s hair was too short to be used as anything other than a mop.

What was nard, she wondered, the pure nard that Mary of Magdala had got into such trouble for, when she poured it over His dear head? Probably it was very like the cream in the green pot she now took from her shoulder bag—buttery and thick and costly. Rich with the scent of herbs. Not simply olive, she imagined, but the others in the Gospels: hyssop, aloe, myrrh.

On the narrow altar she struggled back onto her feet, feeling a little giddy. The tiled floor beneath her suddenly seemed a long way down. By accident she knocked the plastic bowl, spilling the remaining foam. She tore the seal off the green pot, opened it and scooped up some of the ointment with her fingers. With endless love and reverence she stroked His sacred head. There were scabs where the thorns were rammed right through the scalp. She felt warmth against her hand. When she lifted it from His wounds she saw that it was red.

That evening Stella Morrison did not tell her husband Rufus that she had found poor Mary-Margaret unconscious on the floor of a side chapel. It would have been so easy to miss her, lying there in the dim light; it must have been some extra sense that prompted Stella to look right on her way back to the sacristy. That and the faint trace of an unfamiliar smell, something sickly and synthetic overriding the eternal ghost of incense that breathed out of the church walls. She had only gone back for her forgotten car keys, but she had looked, and she had seen a body sprawled there on its side, one arm flung out, a halo of blood around its head. She had thought that it was dead.

Poor Mary-Margaret, with her elasticated denim skirt scrumpled up about her thighs, her flesh-colored knee-high socks. Stella had checked that she was breathing, and called an ambulance. She had remembered that she must not move the body, in case of spinal damage. She had run to fetch Mrs. Armitage, who, thank goodness, was still in the sacristy with Father Diamond. Together they watched over Mary-Margaret, the three of them kneeling round her, until some kindly paramedics came and carried her away. Stella had to leave then because she was already late for her meeting with the volunteers of the Citizens Advice Bureau. Mrs. Armitage had cleaned up the mess all on her own. Well, Mary-Margaret was already two sandwiches short of a full picnic, Mrs. Armitage had said. Lord knows what she’ll be like now.

Stella did not tell Rufus anything of this because she knew he would not be interested. And he would not have time in any case to listen. He didn’t get back from the House that night until eleven o’clock, and he was hungry. Stella was hungry too, but Rufus expected her to wait for him; he disliked eating on his own. She cooked fillets of trout with tarragon and crushed potatoes, and she listened while Rufus talked about the crisis over MPs’ expense claims. It would be an outrage if they took away the second-home allowance. What were people like him supposed to do, when they had constituencies miles away, in Dorset? If you pay peanuts you get monkeys, Rufus said.

Mrs. Armitage told her husband Larry every detail. How Stella had come rushing to the sacristy, her face ghostly white. Mary-Margaret’s pink-sprigged knickers. She still could not work out what Mary-Margaret was doing. There was a chair toppled over by the altar, the altar cloth all twisted, a Tupperware bowl lying on the floor, a soapy sponge, a J-cloth. The oddest thing was the big smudge on the altar cloth, which looked like the print of a hand that had been dipped in paint. Or blood. There had been a quantity of blood seeping from Mary-Margaret’s head but, as she had said reassuringly to Stella and Father Diamond, you would expect that; head wounds always bled a lot. How, though, had Mary-Margaret managed to get blood on the cloth as well? Had she staggered up after she had fallen and grabbed the cloth before crashing down again? If she had, there would surely be spots of blood all over the shop. Well, it was a mystery, but not an especially entertaining one; not one to mull over in her mind for long. Mrs. Armitage had fetched a fresh altar cloth from the sacristy and taken the stained one home to wash.

In the small brick presbytery behind the church, Father Diamond ate the supper his housekeeper had left for him—peppered mackerel and coleslaw. Tonight was a rare night, without parish commitments; he supposed he would go to bed early, make up for much-needed sleep. But once he was in bed, sleep mocked him, playing catch-me-if-you-can and slipping from his grasp just when he thought he’d caught it. He was constantly surprised by how alert the mind could stay when the body was expecting sleep. And the senses too; each magnifying the elements in its particular orbit. The wind, which in truth could not be much more than a breeze, became a gale, the sound of the traffic on Battersea Bridge a roar. The light from the streetlamp outside that edged his window blind was too bright for his eyes. In the morning, when his alarm clock woke him, his bed would be comfortable but now it felt as if the sheets were made of fiberglass and the pillow stuffed with stones. He tried every trick he knew to entrap sleep. Keeping one’s eyes wide open in the dark was said to be infallible, but it never worked for him. Tensing every muscle in the body slowly, starting with the toes of the right foot and working upward to the face before relaxing all of them in one swift rush was another recommended fail-safe. But Father Diamond found it only made him conscious of his body. So he tossed and wriggled, and meanwhile his mind whirred on and on like a machine with a faulty off switch.

Thank the Lord for Mrs. Armitage, he thought. She was so reliable, turning up every Thursday morning with her mops and buckets, carting home stained albs and altar cloths, returning them the next week in piles as crisp and clean as newly fallen snow. And asking for nothing in return, except for conversation, which, it must be said, tended to be prolonged. But, even so, salt of the earth. Good of her to clean up all the mess in the Souls Chapel: what could that silly woman have been doing? If Mrs. Armitage was a right chatterbox, Stella Morrison was an icon of silence. The sunlight streaming down on her, and her arms full of flowers. Stella, he said out loud. He loved the sound of that word. Stella maris. Mater admirabilis, rosa mystica. Stella.

No one thought of telling Mary-Margaret’s mother that her daughter was in hospital until Mary-Margaret herself came round to her full senses at about six o’clock that evening. Fidelma O’Reilly answered the telephone beside the armchair in which she had sat all day. She might as well stay there, she thought. It was too late to be facing all that kerfuffle on her own. Hauling herself out of the armchair, reaching her bedroom, sloughing off the outer layer of clothes. No, there was no point; she might as well stay where she was till morning. She had everything that she might need. A flask of tea, a packet of chocolate-covered digestive biscuits, her Winstons. She sat wedged in her chair and looked out of the window over the streets of Battersea to Wandsworth, where darkness had long fallen. Across the way a tower block, the twin of hers; columns and rows of rectangular windows, lit up like bisected screens. People going about their lives behind them. Fidelma leaned forward to unlatch her own window and push it open. It did not open very far. She knew why: imagine if all the people in all these blocks were able to throw their windows wide and stand upon their sills, rocking slowly back and forward on their heels while the London traffic crawled beneath them and beneath them too the wheeling gulls. No, she could see why the windows were designed to let in no more than an inch or two of outside air. But it was air enough. Up here on the nineteenth floor, with the window open, the wind blew in like a housebreaker, searching underneath the chairs to find what might be hidden there, lifting the curtains in case someone stood behind them. It rustled through the pages of the Radio Times as if it needed to read them in a hurry. Fidelma saluted the wind. At home it had been her daily companion, although there it was at the level of the ground. Brothers and sisters the winds must be, a whole gang of them, scouring the world for lost things, like the children of Lir. With the strong wingbeats of swans. When they fly overhead, the swans, no sound then but their wings. And that a sound so surprising in its loudness. Thunder almost. Swans and wind. The winds were the same winds all through time, all through the world. Born when the world was made, trapped by it like wild birds in bell glass, their wings forlornly beating, forced to roam around it until the end of time.

© 2011 Francesca Kay

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Interviews & Essays

A conversation with Francesca Kay
Did you set out to write a book about faith? Are you a particularly faithful person yourself?
The position of faith in contemporary society is an interesting subject and yes, I did want to look at the distance we have traveled, from a time when religious belief was culturally normal to where we are today. Sometimes it seems that we have forgotten the middle ground, where there was complexity and metaphor and room for shades of meaning, and given in to literalism, to fundamentalism, of both the believing and the atheist sort. But even more interesting than faith in modern times, is the timeless relationship of the human to the divine. My novel is not so much about faith in the abstract, as about the different ways in which individuals believe –or don’t believe - and therefore how they relate to this world – a world of interconnected beings –and to a world beyond.
The book is not a manifesto, a religious tract or a polemic, and the forms of faith that it explores are not necessarily mine. For my own part, I’d echo the man in Mark’s gospel who said: ‘Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.’ I think true faith is a gift to envy, for the certainty and consolation it provides.
The novel has an impressive cast of characters who see the world in very different ways and yet you treat each of them with real compassion—which characters were most difficult to write and why?
As is true of any human being, all the characters in this book have flaws as well as strengths. Each posed a particular challenge. Without due care, would Father Diamond come across as desiccated; Stella as spineless and vapid; Mrs Armitage a do-gooding busybody; Fidelma a selfish monster? As the story developed, and the characters took flesh, I watched them becoming more rounded and more complex. I saw how their needs and their past experiences would shape them. Almost as if they had lives of their own, independent of my pen, they obeyed an interior logic, and at times I felt that all I had to do was to follow the flow of their thoughts. This was especially true of Fidelma O’Reilly, whose voice rang clear in my head from the very beginning. But it was harder to hear Mary-Margaret at first. I didn’t want her to emerge as an object of ridicule, at best a credulous and comic fool, at worst a maniac. She might be simple-minded, and she is certainly misguided, but at the same time she is generous, imaginative and warm-hearted. She is a woman who is desperate to give and to receive love. Her tragedy is that she can’t find the right ways to do so. It’s her mother’s tragedy as well. However, her mother’s fluency is a key that lets the reader into the self that lies beneath her unprepossessing outer layers. Mary-Margaret is much less self-aware, and her language is necessarily more limited than Fidelma’s. I needed to find the right key for her; one that would give her an authentic voice but would also communicate the essential goodness of her nature. Perhaps it was more difficult in the beginning to see her as a whole person, and therefore to love her, than it was to see the other characters.
What is the significance of the title?
Technically speaking, to translate bones is to move holy relics from one resting place to another. I misappropriated the term for its resonance and its poetic suggestiveness. I wanted to know what the bones that were translated might have said in the original, and what they might be saying now. In other words, can the dead speak? Or, as Ezekiel has it: ‘can these bones live?’
You write so beautifully about the ways in which people connect—be it within a family or through the church or a neighborhood—and you write with particular passion about the bond between mothers and their children. What about that relationship, and the different forms it takes, is so compelling to you?
Well, the connection between mother and child is the original connection for all of us; the first, and in obvious ways the most intimate, of bonds. When, on Mothering Sunday, blessing is invoked on all mothers and their children, it’s a prayer for everyone who was ever born. This is true even for children who never knew the woman who gave them birth. That bond can stand for the deepest and most unconditional form of love. But, because it is so crucial, the relationship between mothers and their children can cause great pain and do untold damage, if it goes badly wrong. Fertile territory, then, for a writer interested in connection and its obverse – loneliness and isolation.
Another reason for writing about motherhood is that for years it was the single most defining aspect of my life. It still is, in many ways. Much is written about the hardships of motherhood; rather less about its joys.
Who have you discovered lately?
May I cheat a little here and talk about someone I discovered a long time ago and am glad now to have the chance to share? Elizabeth Taylor, the English novelist, deserves an even wider readership than she has. Although her novels may seem bounded by a particular time and place – England in the middle years of the last century - and are almost exclusively about the middle class she knew, they transcend the specific to become universally true. She wrote beautifully and perceptively about the lives of women, with wonderful precision, understatement and grace. If you don’t already know her work, I’d love you to discover her.
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    Counterbalance

    I have not purchased, or read, this book - but, what gives someone the right to deliberately lowet the rating of a book when they know they will not purchase it just to say, "this sounds weird?"

    Be kind to authors. If you insist on posting something just to feel important at least make it a neutral rating.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Unlike the other people who have posted so far, I have read the

    Unlike the other people who have posted so far, I have read the book

    When Mary-Margaret, a well-meaning but slow young woman, sees a vision of Jesus’ blood in a Roman Catholic Church, she stimulates a miracle-craze which compels many people to question the meaning of faith. This is a very difficult book for me to review because I’m rather ambivalent about it. It is deep with meaning—but would mean something different to the “faithful” than it would to the “faithless.” This is a quality that few books attain, and I believe this is why it deserved to be nominated for the Orange Prize. However, this story is also very sad…it took me in a direction I didn’t expect. There were a lot of negative messages mixed in with the positive messages, which, I suppose, represents life perfectly. But still…some of it was hard for me to read. I would recommend this book to anybody who wants to explore faith and the meaning of mother-child relationships more deeply, and with an open mind.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2012

    Great!

    This book sounds and looks good- the fact I haven't read the book doesn't help. But I have read a book like this before related to theis series and you can never put down this book. It is so hard to ,ove on in life and not sit ans read the entire day. I was amazed at how greatly these books are set up and how they are showed and represented. I greatly love this authir and what kind of bookz that the author does and uses.

    0 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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