A Spell of Winter: WINNER OF THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION

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A Spell of Winter: WINNER OF THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION

A Spell of Winter: WINNER OF THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION

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Description

The story is told from the point of view of Catherine who grows up in a country estate with her brother Rob and their grandfather.

Cathy wants the pregnancy terminated before anyone else notices, and Kate arranges an illegal abortion for her. For whatever reason, I have some kind of secret (not to secret now) fascination for literary brother/sister incest stories. Much of the book has a very Gothic feel- it’s not a high-tension mystery or supernatural fright fest, so don’t enter this one expecting Daphne du Maurier or Shirley Jackson. It certainly adds more tragedy to Cathy’s life, and the time period explains certain habits / ways of life at the manor, but I would argue that it doesn’t change Cathy’s relationships with any of the main characters, which in my opinion is the central focus of this story. However effective that atmosphere, it deadens the intensity of relationships and characters's sufferings.

Of the powerful symbolism in the book, I was most struck by the moving boundary between what is natural and what is man-made. The characters are distinctly peripheral; each one demonstrates a hazy carelessness, drifting along in a fog of apathy. Voor mij 5 sterren omdat dit boek niet onder 1 noemer te vatten valt, omdat de taal zo mooi en verzorgd is, omdat de schrijfster mij soms ongemakkelijk deed heen en weer schuiven in mijn zetel, omdat ik het moeilijk kon opzij leggen. During this time I published several collections of poems, and wrote some of the short stories which were later collected in Love of Fat Men.

Because of this, and also the beauty of the prose, it reminded me very much of To the Lighthouse, which I loved the first time for its revelations, but found frustratingly hard to follow on my second read. My grandfather had turned my parents into shadows, and, as far as I knew, everybody had agreed to it.

In the late 1980s I began to publish short stories, and these were the beginning of a breakthrough into fiction. You also come to understand very early that stories hold quite different meanings for different listeners, and can be recast from many viewpoints.

The children are never told exactly what caused their family to splinter apart so they grow to rely solely on each other in this circumscribed world. Catherine and her brother Rob do not understand why they have been abandoned by both their parents, or know where their mother has gone. Sadly she died in 2017, but the following year her final poetry collection posthumously won the Costa Book Awards Book of the Year. The synopsis on the cover (and on Goodreads) offers little in the way of what to expect, and I can see where not knowing what you’re getting into here could lead to less than favorable experiences for some readers, though the right audience will find this a gorgeous (if grim) book.Against this strange and secretive backdrop, Cathy and Rob develop a closeness so fierce that it eventually threatens to smother them both. If a child was born from those two people, I wonder if it would be born knowing all their secrets, somewhere within it. She excels at wonderful descriptions of the landscape, from brambly, choking hedges with a sense of decay and branchy woodlands, to fresh soil being ploughed.

Nevertheless, the book has some beautiful aspects to it that make it worth a read, aside from its captivating prose. Despite the word “winter” in the title, this is an excellent book to reach for at the height of spooky season (it would also be great for winter, of course).The Siege has been translated into Russian by Tatyana Averchina, and extracts have been broadcast on radio in St Petersburg. Their father is housed in an asylum and their mother is a figure of local scandal who lives in France. The other reason this book came alive for me is that Cathy was such a fascinating, sympathetic, well-developed character, and the depth of emotional complexity that Dunmore was able to excavate with this book was staggering. The chill which has taken hold of the crumbling previously grand country house and its occupants is almost tangible - you will get cold fingers just holding the book and turning the pages. An absent mother and dying father leave Catherine and her brother Rob in pseudo-isolation, encouraging the relationship between them to grow intense and intimate.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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