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The Undertow

by

The Undertow Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The American debut of an enthralling new voice: a vivid, indelibly told work of fiction that follows four generations of a family against the backdrop of a tumultuous century—a novel about inheritance, about fate and passion, and about what it means to truly break free of the past.

This is the story of the Hastings family—their secrets, their loves and losses, dreams and heartbreaks—captured in a seamless series of individual moments that span the years between the First World War and the present. The novel opens in 1914 as William, a young factory worker, spends one last evening at home before his departure for the navy . . . His son, Billy, grows into a champion cyclist and will ride into the D-Day landings on a military bicycle . . . His son in turn, Will, struggles with a debilitating handicap to become an Oxford professor in the 1960s . . . And finally, young Billie Hastings makes a life for herself as an artist in contemporary London. Just as the names echo down through the family, so too does the legacy of choices made, chances lost, and truths long buried.

Review:

"Baker's saga about four generations of the British Hastings family, beginning with a young William sailing off to WWI, explores the effects of war, poverty, dreams, and the difficulties of love. The story's tone is set in the seedy Maltese bar where William breaks his wedding vows, dying shortly thereafter in a torpedo attack. Years later, William's navy buddy Sully shows up to deliver William's final postcard to his wife and ingratiate himself to her, though his schemes are frustrated by her son, Billy, who eventually marries and fights in WWII. Though he survives, Billy struggles to cope with his son Will's congenital disability, and the resulting emotional distance leaves both men embittered. Will overcomes his handicap to become a college professor, but is restless in his relationships. The closeness he wishes for with his artistic daughter, Billie, she instead shares with her grandfather. Will and his daughter eventually find common ground through her art after his son from a second wife enlists in the war in Afghanistan. At times the story's scope threatens to exceed the author's grasp, but Baker deftly reins it in for the emotionally charged final third. Agent: Anna Stein, Aitken Alexander Associates." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Jo Baker was born in Lancashire and educated at Oxford and Belfast. The Undertow is her first publication in the United States. She is the author of three previous novels published in the United Kingdom: Offcomer, The Mermaid’s Child, and The Telling. She lives in Lancaster.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307957092
Author:
Baker, Jo
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Author:
Jo Baker
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:
20120531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.5 x 6.5 x 1.2 in 1.375 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Military

The Undertow Used Hardcover
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Product details 352 pages Knopf Publishing Group - English 9780307957092 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Baker's saga about four generations of the British Hastings family, beginning with a young William sailing off to WWI, explores the effects of war, poverty, dreams, and the difficulties of love. The story's tone is set in the seedy Maltese bar where William breaks his wedding vows, dying shortly thereafter in a torpedo attack. Years later, William's navy buddy Sully shows up to deliver William's final postcard to his wife and ingratiate himself to her, though his schemes are frustrated by her son, Billy, who eventually marries and fights in WWII. Though he survives, Billy struggles to cope with his son Will's congenital disability, and the resulting emotional distance leaves both men embittered. Will overcomes his handicap to become a college professor, but is restless in his relationships. The closeness he wishes for with his artistic daughter, Billie, she instead shares with her grandfather. Will and his daughter eventually find common ground through her art after his son from a second wife enlists in the war in Afghanistan. At times the story's scope threatens to exceed the author's grasp, but Baker deftly reins it in for the emotionally charged final third. Agent: Anna Stein, Aitken Alexander Associates." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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