Does your shaky knowledge of Shakespeare put you to shame? The only guide to the ...
Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize 2009
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Famous author Olive Wellwood writes a special private book, bound in different colours, for each of her children. In their rambling house near Romney Marsh they play in a story-book world - but their lives, and those of their rich cousins and their friends, the son and daughter of a curator at the new Victoria and Albert Museum, are already inscribed with mystery. Each family carries its own secrets. They grow up in the golden summers of Edwardian times, but as the sons rebel against their parents and the girls dream of independent futures, they are unaware that in the darkness ahead they will be betrayed unintentionally by the adults who love them. This is the children's book.
Intricately worked and sumptuously inlaid novel...seethes and pulses with an entangled life, of the mind and the senses alike. Colour and sensation flood Byatt's writing...she is a master-potter, or magic-working puppeteer
Boyd Tonkin, Independent
Superlatively displays both enormous reach and tremendous grip...sizzling with ideas and alive with imaginative energy, too...this is the most stirring novel AS Byatt has written since Possession
Byatt is at her brilliant best...The fantasy here is dark and frightening, going to the edge of what a child can bear. Alongside such rich, strange meat, Harry Potter starts to feel like a vanilla snack for scaredy cats
Compelling...strenuously inclusive and also tremendously enriching - an intricate tale, energetically fashioned from sturdy strands of material, by 'a spinning fairy in the attic', an indefatigable storyteller
Astonishing power and resonance
Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph
I am seventeen years old, and there is a lot in the world I am yet to discover to inspire me. But this book has filled me with inspiration, to chase the dreams I have to be a great writer, much like Olive Wellwood.I also live on the Romney Marsh, and I had great fun imagining my home town in Edwardian times! I love a novel that can get a reaction from it's readers, and this is one of those novels. I have felt a lot of emotion for most of the characters in this book, from pity to hate! I will definitely be shoving this book in a lot of people's faces, and singing it's praises.
This is truly a novel to savour - to sit down with on a quiet evening, with a glass of wine and a comfy chair. Spanning generations, this is the story of a family - and all it's secrets. The title comes from the books famous author Olive writes for all of her children during in their wonderful childhood in the Kent countryside. But as they grow up, secrets begin to come out and the children begin to rebel against their parents - but as a reader you can just see the terror of the First World War looming waiting to destroy their idyllic innocence. Truly, a stunning novel.
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A witty, elegant comedy of errors to rival any of Shakespeare's
A.S. Byatt is internationally known as a novelist, short-story writer and critic. Her novels include Possession (winner of the Booker Prize in 1990), and the quartet of The Virgin in the Garden, Still ...